Petersburg leaders were happy to see the Redistricting Board’s latest changes to the legislative lines in Southeast Alaska. It’s the only Southeast municipality that had challenged the Board’s previous redistricting plans, which originally put Petersburg in a new district with Juneau.
Petersburg’s city council had asked to remain in a district with Sitka and other, smaller towns. So, Monday’s revision was welcome news to local officials.
“We’re pleased. It puts us with communities that we have much more in common with than the original proposal by the board,” said Petersburg City Clerk Kathy O’Rear.
Petersburg, which is primarily a fishing town, had argued that it didn’t have enough in common with Juneau, which is more dependent on government and tourism.
The new revision puts Petersburg in House district 33 with Sitka and Wrangell as well as more than a dozen smaller towns on Prince of Wales, Kupreanof, Baranof and Admiralty Islands. They include Kake, Kupreanof, Port Protection, Point Baker, Whale Pass, Coffman Cove, Thorne Bay, Kasaan, Hollis, Edna Bay, Naukati, Port Alexander, Tenakee Springs, Pelican, Hoonah, Elfin Cove, and Angoon. House District 33 would share Sentate District Q with house district 34, which includes Ketchikan, Loring, Saxman, Metlakatla, Craig, Klawok and Hydaburg.
Meanwhile, House District 32 would encompass downtown Juneau and together with House District 31, it would make up Senate District P. District 31 covers the rest of Juneau as well as Gustavus, Haines and Skagway.
The board had to redraw the plan a third time this week under order from the Alaska Supreme Court. The case stems from a legal challenge by two Fairbanks-area residents.
If the court and the federal government approve the latest revision, it will be used as an interim plan for the fall elections this year. With a court case still pending, it’s not clear yet when a permanent plan will be approved.