I was very pleased to read that the Alaska House of Representatives has "voted by a better than 2-1 margin to hold October's special legislative session in Juneau." I'm glad some of our elected officials are standing up to the governor on this issue.
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There are many here in Juneau who believe that holding these special sessions outside of Juneau creates the feeling that it is one step closer to the capital being moved as well. Gov. Sarah Palin stated many times during her run for the governor's office that she was not going to try and move the capital. Nevertheless, she has certainly been the one that has been pushing the agenda of having the special sessions "some place on the road system."
If the capital was ever moved out of Juneau, the economic effects on Southeast Alaska would be devastating. Businesses would be forced to close, thousands of people would be forced to relocate to find work and the housing market would plummet. I would dare say that there would be a mass of people who would have to default on their home loans because they wouldn't have the income to make the payments. I've seen this happen before in towns where the largest employer has shut its doors.
What bothers me the most is that the governor doesn't seem to realize that by keeping this idea of special sessions outside Juneau open, that her actions or lack of actions may have a negative effect on business and housing costs in our area. If I owned a large business and had been thinking about locating an office in Juneau, I would be thinking long and hard about coming here. I know that Home Depot and Wal-Mart have finally decided to put down roots in our humble town, but how long do you think they'll be here if the winds of change start blowing up a bit stronger?
I ask that the governor publicly reject any notions of having sessions outside of Juneau, which costs substantially more than having our legislators meet here. I also ask that our legislators band together and pass legislation that would forbid the moving of the sessions, or the capital, unless there was some catastrophic event that forced such a move.
Palin's words and deeds will have a huge effect on our community's existence. I hope she does the right thing.
J. Marc Mulkey