February 06, 2005

25. Juneau Trip, Part I.

The trip to Juneau was nothing short of incredible. We spent most of the week in the Capitol building. Here on the right are a couple of our kids standing by a replica of the Liberty Bell, which

coincidently was next to the front entrance. We actually arrived a day later than expected. The night we were supposed to land in Juneau, the weather prevented it, so we had to over fly and land in Seattle instead. It was pretty late when we got to Seattle, and we had to wait until morning to catch the next plane to Juneau. None of the kids had been outside Alaska before, so instead of waiting at the airport all night, we caught a bus downtown and ate hamburgers under the Space Needle.
The program we were on is called Jr. Alaska Close-Up and is designed to give students a first hand look at the going-ons of states government. It is not a free program by any means- everything from tuition to the cost of travel from Tuntutuliak to Juneau had to be covered by the students through their own fund raising efforts. The students got to spend time with a number of legislators, including their own (Rep. Mary Kapsner and Sen. Lyman Hoffman),

observe live sessions of the House and Senate, sit in on committee meetings, speak with Judges, defense and prosecution attorneys, attend court hearings... really they got to see most of what happens at the Capitol. During the times when they weren't actually in the Capitol building itself, they participated in mock trials and committee hearings, attended lectures from newspaper reporters, legislators and a lobbyist. Somehow, there was also time for a tour of the State museum and the congressional television studio... It was a very busy week. There are two things that happened that were particularly interesting to me: both have to do with our experiences in meeting with the legislators. I'll discuss one in the next post, the other is discussed here.


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