Story last updated at 3:20 p.m. Friday, August 9, 2002

House candidates differ over capital move plan
by Chris Bernard
Staff Writer

It was business as usual for Paul Seaton and Drew Scalzi Wednesday as they restated some of their stances on issues facing the state during a luncheon sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Kachemak Bay Board of Realtors.

Seaton is challenging Scalzi, the incumbent, for the District 35 seat in the House of Representatives. Both candidates are Republicans, and will face each other in the Aug. 27 primary.

There are no other candidates.

The two discussed fisheries issues, re-expressed their support for an income tax and went to bat for opposing views of closed-caucus governments.

One audience question asking whether the candidates supported a capital move to Anchorage brought to light another issue on which Scalzi and Seaton disagree.

Seaton said he would not support a capital move, but is in favor of moving the Legislature to Anchorage. Scalzi wants to keep both the capital and the Legislature in Juneau.

"I think it would be very expensive (to move the capital)," Seaton said, adding that he believes moving the Legislative session as proposed on the November ballot would be cost-efficient. "Moving the legislative session is not going to cost a lot."

He said the costs associated with legislators maintaining offices in both their hometowns and Juneau, as well as the cost to the state of per diems for relocation expenses, would save the state money in the long run. He also said that since the session occurs during the off-season for tourism, larger hotels and meeting centers would be offering competitive bids to host the session.

"Isolating the Legislature in Juneau, they become isolated with lobbyists," he said. "They don't see the real people, they see the special-interests people."

For his part, Scalzi said, he was not in favor of moving either the capital or the Legislature before he was elected in 2000, and since then he has become more adamant in his beliefs.

"I don't believe either one is going to ensure better government," he said. "There's an intrinsic value being based in Juneau -- we have to think about Juneau, too. This is a big part of their economy."

Scalzi said that since many of the state's department commissioners are based in Juneau, as is the governor, legislators benefit from the convenience of being able to meet face to face.

"They're all within a five-minute walk of each other," he said.

"That is much better than teleconferencing."

There was a sellout crowd for the luncheon, held noon Wednesday upstairs at the Best Western Bidarka Inn.