Gov. Dunleavy holds holiday open house in Juneau after missing last year’s due to the pandemic

People stand in a large foyer decorated for the holidays.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon speak just before the governor’s holiday open house began on Tuesday at the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau. Alaska First Lady Rose Dunleavy is on the left. It was the first open house in two years, due to the pandemic. (Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his wife, Rose, on Tuesday hosted the first holiday open house at the governor’s mansion in two years.

The open house has been held every year since 1913, except for two years during World War II and last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s crowd was smaller than usual. 

Outside, stood a 14-foot-tall pine from Etolin Island near Wrangell, decorated with ornaments made by students from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District. 

Inside, masks were available at the door, though most of the early visitors were not wearing them, nor were the Dunleavys.

Because organizers weren’t sure how many people would be here, there were 11,000 cookies. (Usually there would be roughly 15,000.) And they were individually wrapped this year rather than arranged on trays. 

Dunleavy was asked by a reporter before the open house what his Christmas wish was this year. It had to do with the upcoming legislative session. 

“That we can all come together and tackle some of the most difficult issues that Alaska’s faced over the last couple years,” he said. “I think we’ve worked well together on this virus issue and a whole host of other issues. We just have a few issues that are still pending in the Legislature. And I think if we get those settled, Alaska’s going to be in great shape.”

The first day of the session is scheduled for Jan. 18.  

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Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at akitchenman@alaskapublic.org.

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