All should have access to sessions in Alaska

Posted: Sunday, July 08, 2007

The special session in Anchorage has come and gone, and Gov. Sarah Palin now says that because of its success, she plans to call a special session to revisit the Petroleum Profits Tax on the road system. She says that the past special session has confirmed her belief that holding the session outside Juneau increases access for Alaskans.

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First, I applaud Palin for the decision to revisit the PPT. In light of current events, it is appropriate to look back at this legislation and make sure we are doing the best thing for Alaska. It is a very important issue, one I feel all Alaskans should have access too.

And the important phrase there is "all Alaskans." Not just Alaskans in the Anchorage/ Mat-Su area or Alaskans on the road system, but every Alaskan.

What happens to those Alaskans not on the road system when a special session is held in Anchorage? Quite frankly, we are left out.

When a session is held in Juneau, "Gavel to Gavel" broadcasts the committee meetings, floor sessions and press conferences to the rest of Alaska. This is paid for in large part by the city of Juneau!

So when a special session is held in the Anchorage area, what happens? Does the city of Anchorage follow suit and provide those of us outside the road system with some sort of televised access? Look at the past special session as an example. Because the session was in Anchorage and therefore deemed to be easily accessible, I guess there was no need for that type of coverage.

What about all of those Alaskans without access to the road system? I guess we are really not important enough to matter.

I don't like the fact that sessions are held outside of Juneau in the first place. But if it is going to happen, I would appreciate the same concern that our city holds for those outside Juneau. Juneau provides some sort of access to those that can't come here for the sessions. Can Anchorage say the same?

Gabe Strong


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