Governor likely to poll senators on special session

Advocates of Juneau remain confident that meeting will he held in capital city

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rebuffed by Senate President Lyda Green, Gov. Sarah Palin is likely to go ahead and poll senators on her own to decide where a fall special legislative session on oil taxes should be held, her spokesperson said.

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Typically, the governor would call the session and name the location. Palin, who said she personally preferred a location on the "road system," asked the leaders of the House and Senate which location their members preferred.

House members overwhelmingly weighed in on the side of Juneau, much to the relief of Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau. He'd been lobbying Palin and fellow senators about Juneau's strengths as a location for the session.

Green balked at polling her members, however, and told Palin it was her job to decide where the session would be.

"If the governor calls the special session, and she wants it held outside Juneau, she needs to specify the location," said Jeff Turner, spokesman for the Senate majority led by Green. "It's really her decision."

"A successful special session is more important than the location," Palin wrote in a letter to Green.

"It would be a disservice to Alaskans to let logistical issues of a special session get in the way of rebuilding the public's trust in our oil tax system," she said.

Palin spokesperson Sharon Leighow said the governor was disappointed Green was unwilling to poll her members.

"The governor was hoping for more initiative by the Senate leadership," Leighow said.

Leighow said the governor's office will "likely" be contacting all senators to see which location they prefer.

"The governor feels it is only fair to hear from the entire Senate on this issue," Leighow said.

Turner said Green's preference is for someplace on the road system as well.

"She'd like to have it out in the (Matanuska) Valley, of course," Turner said. Green represents Wasilla in the Senate. Both she and Palin are Republicans, but they disagree on many issues, including the need for a special session.

Turner said he's heard Green say she expects the special session, slated for Oct. 18, will wind up in Juneau.

Juneau Sen. Kim Elton said that given the wide margin of support for Juneau in the House of Representatives, and several senators who have publicly announced a preference for Juneau, that the session will wind up in the capital.

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



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