J.F.A. Strong: AK governor, editor, alien, bigamist

An enigma among Alaskan politicians was the Territory’s second governor, John Franklin Alexander Strong. Appointed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913, he served until 1918. He was not reappointed and was replaced by Thomas P. Riggs, Jr. Years later, former Gov. Ernest Gruening surmised that the reason Strong was dumped was that a private investigator discovered that the well-known man had never been naturalized as an American citizen. Not only that, but he had abandoned the woman he married in Canada, along with their two daughters and son, and became a bigamist when he married Anna Hall of Tacoma, Wash.That said, however, other than his habit of throwing in a superfluous “u” in words like favor and endeavor, everyone considered him to be as American as baseball and apple pie.

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Petersburg Land Grant Bill Signed into Law

PETERSBURG – Gov. Bill Walker today signed Senate Bill 28 into law. SB 28 was sponsored by Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) to increase the Petersburg Borough’s land entitlement to 14,666 acres. When the Petersburg Borough was created by the voters in 2013 they had only received 1,896 acres. With passage of the SB 28, the Petersburg Borough is now on equal-footing with other organized boroughs across the State of Alaska.

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Symposium Against Income Tax

Imagine what might happen if every elected official attempted to inform constituents of the most significant current issues being addressed by policy makers. What if said elected officials provided expert overviews with suggested options for solving problems? Would Alaskans arrive at better results without the default political position of throwing more money at problems? THAT would be novel. Well, that is exactly what Eagle River Rep. Lora Reinbold and other community leaders did on Tuesday, October 24 at an event held in the auditorium of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center. Each presentation lasted 10 minutes, and each examined how money is being spent by the State of Alaska. After the presentations, audience members asked questions and heard measured responses.

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Jay Hammond ‘father,’ defender of PFD

Hotly debated currently is the propriety of placing a cap on Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend. Most Alaskans recently deposited their $1100 check. Without the slice Gov. Bill Walker took to help offset the budget deficit with which he is faced, the check would have been twice as much. Generally considered the “father” of the dividend was Jay Hammond, governor of the 49th State at the time the measure was enacted. This writer has met all of Alaska’s governors since Bill Egan. Not to brag—it was just part of the job he held. They all meant well and some were more popular or more successful than others. Jay Hammond happens to be one of my favorites.

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