Southeast Has Its Say on Redistricting

Haines and Skagway should be in the same election district as Juneau. The Capital City’s Mendenhall Valley wants to stay on its own. Petersburg doesn’t want to be split up. And the whole redistricting process has been a boondoggle.

That’s some of what Southeast Alaska residents – plus a few others – told the Alaska Redistricting Board during a hearing Tuesday at the Capitol.

A dozen and a half redistricting plans, some from the board and others from communities, corporations and political groups – are at issue. It’s part of the process of redrawing election district lines under orders from the Alaska Supreme Court.

The session followed meetings in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

The board’s next step is to choose a plan – or create a new one – for use in the 2014 elections.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.