Two Southeast towns expected to host Gov. Mike Dunleavy this week. The governor canceled the brief listening tour due to inclement weather.
Jade Balansang was in city hall waiting for the governor when she found out he wouldn’t make it to town. She’s a junior at Wrangell High School.
“I’m kind of disappointed, because I was typing away on what I was going to say to him,” she says. She had prepared a short speech on the importance of the Alaska Marine Highway System for student travel.
“I’m still going to save that document for whenever I get to see him next,” she says.
She might get that chance. The governor’s office says it plans to reschedule its visits to Petersburg and Wrangell. The governor called the trips due to inclement weather. Jet service is running to Wrangell, but the governor had planned to travel on a twin-engined King Air turboprop used by Alaska State Troopers.
“He’s as disappointed as I’m sure many Wrangell residents are,” Jeff Turner is the governor’s spokesman. “The governor wanted to start here in Southeast, because we’re in the legislative session. And go around to these communities and talk to Alaskans.”
Wrangell Mayor Steve Prysunka took the cancellation in stride. “The governor is welcome to come anytime.”
He appreciates that the governor thought of the town of 2,500, and Southeast as a whole.
Wrangell city officials had hoped to discuss how state cuts impact municipal services. Prysunka also stressed the need to maintain local state offices, as the local Alaska Fish and Game office is on the chopping block.
If the governor wants to reach Southeast’s civic and business leaders — including those from Wrangell — it’s not too late. Southeast Conference is wrapping up its mid-session summit in Juneau on Wednesday. The governor had skipped the Tuesday session, sending his chief of staff Ben Stevens to address the group in his place.