Sen.-elect Bill Stoltze had not spoken with Rep. Cathy Munoz since the end of last year’s legislative session.
But while he was asleep Wednesday after returning earlier in the day from Washington, where he attended a swearing-in ceremony for U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, Stoltze had a missed call from the Juneau Republican.
“I can guess what it was about,” Stoltze said.
Earlier that evening, PIPELINE broke news about a bill the longtime Republican legislator from Chugiak plans to introduce this session that would relocate the Alaska Legislature from Juneau into the brand new legislative information office in Downtown Anchorage.
“Anytime you even mutter it under your breath, the public picks up on it,” Stoltze said during an Thursday interview at the Channel 2 News studio. “And the Capital City, they go to DEFCON alert. That’s probably why I’m doing an interview at 6:15 in the morning here.”
This effort is the latest in a lengthy and recurring struggle to wrest state government from Southeast Alaska and put it into driving distance of most Alaskans, an idea staunchly opposed over the years by Southeast lawmakers and many others.
Persistent concerns of the negative impact relocation would have on Juneau’s economy and fears the state would become too Anchorage-centric beat back previous efforts.
A partial history of relocation fails from the Alaska Division of Elections:
- 2002: Alaskans vote 2-to-1 against placing the capital in Mat-Su
- 1994: With 212,675 ballots, Wasilla falls short of becoming the capital by fewer than 20,000 votes
- 1982: A ballot proposal that emphasizes cost, revenue and population estimates falls flat by about 10,000 votes.
- 1974 and 1978: Voters approve
- 1962: An effort to relocate the capital to Western Alaska is voted down.
- 1960: Voters nix an effort to dislodge Juneau as the capital in favor of somewhere in the Cook Inlet-Railbelt area.