Taking a stand for Alaska's capital

Posted: Friday, September 07, 2007

When this article goes to press, our governor will be announcing or will have already announced the location of the special session. Street and e-mail discussions on capital creep, legislative move, relocation of state jobs from Juneau, the governor's children and their choice of school sites, the governor herself and her choice of where she lives, all point to a broader topic: What is a state capital and what is its function?

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Is a state capital simply a star on a map or is it the heart of government, where one can expect high energy, where state workers live and with their presence comes spirited debate and creativity? I ask this question to our governor and to my fellow legislators because to have this kind of capital we need commitment and vision. So, the follow up question becomes, "How are we growing and prospering a true capital?"

Our state buildings are in disrepair. A picture of one building featured in the Juneau Empire some months ago showed mold running down the walls. Our Alaska State Museum, despite years of budget requests, still houses materials in decaying temporary buildings. Access? Yes, Juneau is on a road system. It just isn't paved with asphalt. Our ferry system can be reliable and cost effective, but it needs a long-term plan and immediate maintenance like any other system, like our state buildings, like our museum.

I love Juneau. I think it's vibrant, alive, a rare gem on the map of the world. But just as I wouldn't expect a child, a school or a company to thrive on neglect, so I do not expect our state capital to do so. I am repeating the question just one more time, Gov. Palin and my fellow legislators, where is your commitment?

Rep. Andrea Doll


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