Capital advocates target new voters

Group aims to shore up support for keeping seat in Juneau

Posted: Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hoping to solidify Juneau's hold on the capital, the Alaska Committee is sending mailings to new voters throughout the state.

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Tens of thousands of new Alaskans will be getting a glossy, four-color mailing from the Alaska Committee, Juneau's publicly funded effort to protect the capital. The mailer provides the committee's Web site address and makes a pitch for the Gavel-to-Gavel network.

The television network's broadcast of legislative activity is the committee's main effort at making the capital more accessible to far-flung residents of the largest state in the nation.

Alaska Committee Chairman Win Gruening said Juneau residents want to make sure everyone knows what Juneau is doing to be a good host to the capital.

"It's basically information that voters would need to know to be able to communicate with their legislators and governor," Gruening said.

The mailings direct voters to the committee's Web site, www.alaskascapital.com, and point out where to find Gavel-to-Gavel on the Web.

Gruening said the mailings also contain information about Juneau's 100-year history as the capital of the territory and the state, a listing of investments the community has made in making the capital more accessible for Alaskans, such as Gavel-to-Gavel, and constituent fares to enable visitors to attend legislative sessions more cheaply.

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"New voters who come to the state don't necessarily know the easiest way to contact their legislators or governor. They don't know what resources are available," Gruening said.

State Rep. Andrea Doll, D-Juneau, applauded the committee's strategy.

"I think anything the Alaska Committee does right now is important," she said. "This is a critical time to get the attention of the state to the advantages of Juneau as the capital."

The committee printed 50,000 of the brochures and a few weeks ago began mailing them out in batches of about 5,000 at a time to newly registered voters.

"We started in 2005 and are moving forward, so we can catch as many as possible," he said.

Gruening said the mailers cost 46 cents each, along with bulk rate postage. For the first batch of 5,200 that went out, the price totaled $1,169, he said.

• Contact Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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