Gov. Bill Walker and first lady Donna Walker welcomed the people of Juneau into their home Tuesday for the 2015 governor’s holiday open house. It’s an annual tradition that’s been going on for more than 100 years.
At a press conference at the mansion, the governor estimated that he would shake over 3,000 hands. Walker said he was excited about Alaska’s future, although he knows the state is in a period of “challenging fiscal times.”
“But we’ve never defined ourselves by how much money we’ve had. We’re a state made of Alaskans made up of all walks of life. Doing what we need to do to get the job done,” he said.
First Lady Donna Walker said they were trying to do more with less this year and the cookie budget, like the state budget was down. Still, 25,000 cookies were baked for guests to enjoy. The party even included a first—the option of gluten-free cookies.
Karla Hart was waiting in line wearing a sticker that says ‘get extra tough on B.C. mines.’ She said a group of people were planning on wearing the stickers to show their opposition. Hart said she thinks Walker has been a great supporter, but there were a lot of issues competing for his attention.
“So to my mind, it’s an opportunity to reinforce what he’s already started doing and say this is really important and we need you to keep doing it even while you’re dealing with budget issues,” she said.
The governor is rolling out the 2017 fiscal plan for the state on Wednesday.