Earlier in my career I spent eight years working in the U.S. Senate and the Alaska House of Representatives. I know a little bit about constituent relations. It can be difficult balancing requests from community members that may not mesh with your own platform. There are, however, some requests we call a “no-brainer.” I brought such a request to Brenda Josephson earlier in her tenure on the assembly.

Seaplanes had just cut the direct flights between Haines and Skagway to one a day, and had increased the cost of some tickets from $80 to $240. Previously if there was no direct flight, and there was space available on connecting flights, we paid the direct flight fee. Now if we wanted to fly before or after work, we had to pay $120 to fly to Juneau and then another $120 to Haines, a $480 round trip. A prohibitive fee for flights that often had empty space.

I asked Brenda to introduce a resolution to the assembly describing the long historic, economic, and social ties between our two communities, and requesting Seaplanes reconsider their pricing structure. This was a pretty simple, fiscally neutral petition. There always have been, and will continue to be, a good number of Haines residents who live in Haines, yet work or do business in Skagway. By blowing off my request she sent the bi-coastal community a very clear message: Brenda Josephson doesn’t want to represent us.

Kristine Harder