PUBLISHED: 5:28 PM on Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Letter to the Editor
I appreciated your column about reaching out to constituents from out-of-town, with financial discounts and rebates from the business community.

I sense that most people who travel to Juneau for the session, from legislators to staff to constituents, have no real interaction with local residents beyond the airline ticket agents, restaurant wait staff, hotel desk clerks and a few shopkeepers. With no real connection to Juneau, and often thinly-veiled resentment at having to travel away from their home, it becomes easy for them to dismiss Juneau as irrelevant.

I would like to see us move beyond the annual reception at the beginning of the session to building relationships between legislators and local residents--perhaps dinners in local homes, inviting legislators to join residents for a night at the theater, a day at Eaglecrest or some other local activity. Kind of a welcome wagon on a personal level.

I hope you will continue to encourage thinking about how we reach out to our fellow visiting Alaskans, and perhaps act as a catalyst for making it happen.

Judy Shuler