49 Voices: Ryan Kennedy of Anchorage

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This week, we’re hearing from Ryan Kennedy, an unemployed carpenter who lives in Anchorage.

Ryan Kennedy (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media)
Ryan Kennedy (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media)

KENNEDY: In the winter time, carpenters are often out of work so that’s kind of what I am. I was born here. I didn’t see any compelling reason to leave. Although I’ve been thinking of changing that.

I’m really alarmed about the economy, and I told you I’m a carpenter. I’ve read that the capital budget’s going to go down, tremendously, and that’s like a death sentence for construction. So I’d have to. Wyoming I was thinking, or Montana. I guess it’s the same kind of [place]. Kind of like a frontier. I’ve been to the big cities and stuff. I don’t care for that.

I used to work for the Census Bureau and there’s a tremendous amount of in-flow and out-flow of population. People like to pretend that Alaska’s something special. I don’t know if it is, really. I hate to say it but it’s a lot like the Lower 48 in a lot of respects, I think.

Alaskans have a very inflated sense of their statehood, and that’s because it’s separate from the rest of the United States. But what I’m saying is that that’s sort of a fiction, I think.

The cycling through of people is so much that, you know, we don’t have an accent like people in the East or the South or anything like that. It’s kind of like people come here and they adopt the place. And I don’t feel that because I was born here.

So, in a way, I’ve found that the people who are most gung-ho about being an Alaskan are people who moved here, you see.

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.

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