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The purpose of the Monday newspaper ad by Cathy Muñoz was clear - a party line vote for her would be in the best interests of Juneau. This argument could decide the race for state House between Andrea Doll and Muñoz. Is it true?
In the advertisement, Muñoz is pictured next to John Harris, identified as Speaker of the House. He is a Republican, like her. He is quoted, "Anytime Juneau has had a representative in the House majority, it has been a great plus for the community and its needs." Harris is telling us that if we do not vote for Muñoz to help return him as House Speaker, the "needs" of Juneau are under threat - because he is the power figure in the photo, we can assume by Harris himself.
Harris is a known threat to Juneau's place as the capital of Alaska. He seems a strange choice for a local candidate to support as a legislative leader.
A power shift is about to take place everywhere. If the United States has a Democratic president and both Congressional Houses are controlled by Democrats, the Alaska Legislature is going to have to look to nationally ranked Democrats for the enormous federal funds that arrive here every year. Those people will naturally prefer to work through local Democratic channels when possible.
It will be visible when the probable new U.S. senator, Democrat Mark Begich, arrives in Juneau to make the annual address to the Legislature. Everyone is going to look pleased to see him - even Republican John Harris. The Democrats will be ecstatic. It will be a symbol of their new-found clout, or "juice," as Bill Egan's right-hand man Alex Miller used to say.
Contrary to the implications of the "party line" ad mentioned above, Democrats like Andrea Doll now have to be reckoned with regardless of who leads the Alaska House. That is fortunate because Doll is one of the most frank and honest politicians I have ever met. And because every capital move bill of the last decade has come from the Republican side of the House, presumably a larger presence of Democrats would be helpful too.