Story last updated at 8/5/2009 - 12:29 pm
July was a busy month, to say the least. It started with the resignation of one governor and ended with the swearing in of another.
Gov. Sarah Palin resigned on July 26 and Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell stepped up to be Alaska's 10th governor. To say Southeast Alaska has welcomed the new governor with open arms might be an understatement.
As I watched at the standing-room-only Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon as our new governor spoke last week, the crowd was almost giddy.
I described it to a lower 48 friend like this: Have you ever watched five year olds at the mall when Santa arrives? The faces and energy of those in attendance were reflective of the anticipation of the man in red bringing gifts from one's wish list.
For Southeast Alaska some of these "gifts" will be to keep our capital city right here and to move forward with providing 300 new jobs to Alaskans at the Kensington Mine.
Although the Governor may not be able to put the finishing bow on the presents himself, it seems he is prepared to start helping us finish wrapping up these issues with a positive outcome.
So far so good it seems for this transition. Parnell's first week in office was spent mostly in Juneau. When he said at the luncheon, "Yes, I required everybody to come to the Governor's house for our first cabinet meeting," the room was filled with clapping and cheers.
However, you can't blame some folks for pausing a bit before getting too comfortable. His predecessor claimed the capital move was a "non issue" at the beginning of her term, but then the "capital creep" picked up speed. For the first time, commissioners were not required to perform their jobs from Juneau and it has been reported that a number of jobs left Juneau during her short term.
Actions do speak louder than words and we know that Parnell made Juneau his home while serving in the state legislature for eight years. Parnell states that he'll be holding a governor's picnic in Juneau much like the ones held by Palin in Anchorage, Wasilla and Fairbanks. A gesture that, for many, reinforces his commitment to being in Southeast Alaska. We look forward to this new beginning and welcome Gov. Parnell.
On a sad note, the start of August has marked the passing of a great Alaskan public servant. Lu Young, Congressman Don Young's wife of 46 years, passed away August 1. It is commonly known that Mrs. Young voluntarily worked alongside her husband all these years supporting Alaska.
All of us at Capital City Weekly send our deepest sympathies to the Young family. Our thoughts are with you.
Laura L. Newsom is the general manager of the Capital City Weekly. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.