Our inquiry this week is indigenous Anchorage viewer Rosemary Dunn, that wanted to know, “How walk Juneau become the state capital, once it is so inaccessible to Alaskans?”

We broadened that inquiry to ask why Juneau stays the capital.

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It’s reasonably easy to view why Juneau ended up being the resources in 1906 – Anchorage didn’t exist yet and also Fairbanks to be a remote settlement, but Juneau had a growing mining industry and also was just a steamer expedition away indigenous Seattle. Additionally, the was not much further up the Panhandle than Sitka, the resources chosen for the territory by its one-time Russian masters.

So the Alaska capital has moved prior to – to Juneau native Sitka. And also city leaders desire to save it there.


To find out more, us talked to Bruce Botelho and Mark Neuman.

Botelho loves Juneau. He’s been chosen mayor four times. He’s additionally served together attorney basic under two governors, yet that’s a different story.

Neuman is legislator from big Lake first elected in 2004. He came to Alaska after the 1982 poll that eliminated the big capital relocate to the wilderness approximately Willow phibìc of wherein he lives, however he has followed capital move ideas because then – and has a few of his own.

Since Alaska became a state in 1959, there have been 10 ballot initiatives involving a funding move. The very first was in 1960, once voters garbage the very first effort to relocate the funding to the railbelt, 23,972-to-18,865. A measure lastly passed in 1974, and Willow obtained the endorsement. But voters obtained cold feet prior to construction began. The 1982 vote v the open minded initiative (Fiscally Responsible Alaskans Needing Knowledge) rejected Willow, once voters were faced with a $2.8 billion bill for construction and also relocation.


A few more steps in the Legislature involved at the very least a partial move. Because that instance, in 2008, a bill by Rep. Carl Gatto, a Republican indigenous Palmer who died in office in 2012, would certainly have required a one-of-a-kind session to only take location on the roadway system. That bill never had a hearing, but some that the unique sessions in the last couple of years were organized in Anchorage anyway.

When people talk about moving the capital, Neuman claimed they usually just mean relocating the Alaska Legislature.

“A many those folks space talking around getting access to your Legislature, and being able come comment and also testify prior to us,” Neuman said. “We’re separated from the remainder of Alaska under here, and also isolated, a many of human being feel. And so it’s an ext of a faction of trying to relocate the legislature closer come the people, as opposed to moving the entirety capital.”

But come Botelho, also moving the Legislature no sound like a great idea.


“I would note that we, no unlike the capital cities of all the states on the West Coast, room not situated in the populace center that the state, and relatively few people avail themselves of the chance to journey to their resources to express their views,” Botelho said. “I think that’s to be reflected in the distinct sessions that have recently been held in Anchorage, where turnout because that committee hearings or to watch floor action has been minimal, and also mostly the same human being who show up right here in Juneau.”

Neuman stated a more centrally situated Legislature would save the state money, and also probably attract new talent.

“It wouldn’t be just a far better opportunity because that the public, however I think it would certainly be an ext opportunity for much more people to come to be legislators and also staff – the world who make this structure run. The takes a kind of special human to be able to leave their family and everything behind because that months and also never to be able to go home, and then you don’t also know if it’s going to be 3 to seven months long. So no everybody have the right to do that job, and also I think there’d be an ext opportunities and also a wider base.”

Botelho said that Juneau has done a lot to do it easier for people to interact with the Legislature.


“Juneau has served together the host city in a really responsible way, come make sure that federal government is responsive come the world of Alaska where they reside,” Botelho said. “That’s reflected in our efforts to promote Gavel come Gavel, therefore that any kind of Alaskan can view those happening top top the floor sessions. We’ve been giving for live streaming of committee meetings, we’ve clearly supported efforts of the Legislature chin to exploit teleconferences, and over the years we’ve invested numerous dollars in framework to enhance state government.”

Neuman combined a Legislature move with one more of his pet projects, the bridge across Knik Arm, in citing a future the may happen – or not.

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“People can even come right into Anchorage. Castle fly right into Anchorage, drive across the bridge, take treatment of your business, testify because that the day, and fly house that night. Appropriate now, if you desire to do that, you paris to Anchorage – part people, if you in remote Alaska, need to spend the night in Anchorage, record a trip to Juneau – in and also out the Juneau is iffy every the time, and also getting hotels, they can run approximately $250, $275 a day, 300 bucks for the more expensive ones, more than likely – and then need to fly back. Although lock have... A ingredient fare, it’s a lower rate. But past that, it’s practically 6, $700 to fly back and forth every time, and not a many Alaskans have the right to do it.”

For Botelho, though, Juneau is a one-of-a-kind place.


“We’re an extremely proud the the truth that Juneau is a really engaged community," he said. "It has a very solid arts presence, and that civic society is populated by human being who are state employees, who are managers, people who – many of whom are very highly education – bring a level of sophistication to this neighborhood that provides us among the most richest places almost everywhere to live in this country.”

But no the weather stink?

“It is well developed that we see a many rain. We’re blessed, together a an outcome of that, through a verdant rain forest, and also flora and also fauna that is component of the benefit of the weather we at time endure.”