Catherine Andrea "Cathy" Giessel, is a Republican politician from the U. S. state of Alaska, serving since 2011. Giessel is a member of the Alaska Senate representing District N, including Northeast Anchorage, Anchorage Hillside and the Turnagain Arm communities of Bird, Girdwood and Anchorage, all within the Municipality of Anchorage. First elected in 2010 while self-identified with Tea Party values, she has served as the vice-chair of the state Republican Party and held a career in nursing. Following redistricting, she was elected into a different senate seat in 2012 and serves as chair of the Resources Committee and is a member of the Senate Majority Caucus. After Senate President Pete Kelly was unseated in 2018, Giessel was elected as the next President of the Alaska Senate. Cathy Giessel was born Catherine Andrea Bohms in Fairbanks, Alaska on November 9, 1951, the oldest of three daughters born to Gerald Johnson "Jerry" and Ruth Odelia Bohms. Jerry Bohms worked for Wien Alaska Airlines. Ruth Bohms holds a degree from Gonzaga University School of Law and was admitted before the bars of Alaska and the United States Supreme Court.
Ruth Bohms was a candidate for the Alaska Legislature in 1992, running as an Alaskan Independence Party candidate for a Fairbanks-based seat in the Alaska House of Representatives. Giessel graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks and thereafter gained a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Michigan before moving to Anchorage in 1974, she worked as an advanced nurse practitioner across a variety of clinics in Anchorage and the North Slope Borough and continues to do healthcare consulting, gained a master's degree in nursing from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2000. She has been on the Alaska Board of Nursing, serving five years as its chairperson, on the Alaska Healthcare Strategy Planning Council. In 2010, she was named an'exceptional leader' by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Before gaining her Senate seat, Giessel served on Sean Parnell's campaign team during his race against Don Young during the Republican primary for Alaska's congressional seat in 2008.
Giessel was up for reelection in 2016. Due to all the previous issues resulting from redistricting, this would be the first time Giessel was eligible to have a 4-year term. Giessel’s initial Democratic challenger, local non-profit executive and advocate Hilary Morgan, dropped out of the senate race early in 2016. Shortly before the filing deadline, longtime registered Democrat and President of the Alaska AFL-CIO, Vince Beltrami emerged, filing to run as an independent; the race became one of the most expensive state senate races in Alaska history. Giessel won the November general election, defeating challenger Vince Beltrami, 51.90% to 47.57%. Giessel again campaigned on positions supporting natural resource development, diversified economic development, right-sizing Alaska state government, the creation of a comprehensive plan to the state government’s budget challenges, again supported more school choice options for parents of K-12 students. Due to the continued budget shortfall, further reductions in state spending continued as a top priority for the new senate majority caucus.
Other priorities of the caucus are plans to implement a state spending limit into law and review of formula driven programs to make additional reforms to the state’s most costly programs to get the state budget under control. Committee assignments Resources Special Committee on Arctic Policy Health and Social Services State Affairs Education Legislative Budget and Audit Legislative Council Finance Subcommittee Environmental Conservation Health & Social Services Natural Resources In-state Gas Caucus Outdoor Heritage Caucus Though elected in 2012 following redistricting, a challenge to the newly drawn districts caused Giessel to be up for reelection again in 2014. Giessel won the November general election, defeating Democratic challenger Harry Crawford Jr. 54.7% to 44.97%. This time Giessel was elected to a 2-year seat that would be up again for reelection in 2016. Giessel campaigned on the position of pro natural resource development, in-state gasline development, diversified economic development and supported more school choice options for parents of K-12 students.
Due to the sharp fall of oil prices and Alaska’s ensuing fiscal gap in 2015, the budget and curbing state spending became top priorities for the new senate majority caucus. Education funding was another top priority for the caucus as well. Resources Special Committee on Arctic Policy Health and Social Services Labor and Commerce Education Legislative Budget and Audit Finance Subcommittee Environmental Conservation Health & Social Services Natural Resources In-state Gas Caucus Outdoor Heritage Caucus Though elected in 2010 to serve a four-year term, redistricting led to her being up for election again in 2012 for a new senate seat serving District N. In the August Republican primary, Giessel defeated challenger Joe Arness by 67%, she won the November general election, defeating Independent Ron Devon, the husband of Mudflats author Jeanne Devon, 58.8% to 40.7%. She campaigned on the position of pro natural resource development, in-state gasline development, increased economic development, oil tax reform.
Increasing oil production through oil tax reform was a decisive issue during the 2012 election and became top priority for the new senate majority caucus, formed subsequently. Giessel was appointed to chair the Senate Resources committee which moved Governor Parnell’s oil tax reform legislation and advanced the Alaska
Scott Jiu Wo Kawasaki is an American healthcare professional and politician from Alaska. A Democrat, he is a member of the Alaska House of Representatives representing the state's first district, which includes neighborhoods within the city limits of Fairbanks. Scott Kawasaki was born in Tokyo, Japan while his parents Koji and Virginia Kawasaki taught internationally; the family returned to Fairbanks in 1980, where he has lived since. Scott attended public schools throughout Fairbanks. Scott graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a B. S. in Biomedical Sciences in 2006. Kawasaki was elected to the Fairbanks City Council in 1999. At age 24, he was one of the youngest members to serve on that body, he served on the Fairbanks City Council for two consecutive terms from 1999 till 2005. Kawasaki was elected state representative for House District 9, in 2006, defeating Republican incumbent Jim Holm by 2617 votes to 2118, he had run in 2004, losing to Holm by 52 votes. Kawasaki was reelected in 2008 defeating Republican challenger Sue Hull.}
He was the youngest member of the legislature at this time. Kawasaki defeated Republican nominee Joseph Michel in the 2010 election. In 2012, in District 4, he narrowly beat David Pruhs, with 51-47% of the vote. In 2014, he beat Gregory Bringhurst with 55% of the tally, was unopposed in 2016. Prior to the appointment of Sam Kito III in 2014, Kawasaki was the only Asian American serving in the Alaska Legislature. Kawasaki is running against incumbent Senator Pete Kelly in 2018, the Fairbanks-North Star Borough Assembly's Presiding Officer Kathryn Dodge has filed to run as a Democrat for Kawasaki's House seat. Media related to Scott Kawasaki at Wikimedia Commons Alaska State Legislature – Representative Scott Kawasaki official government website Project Vote Smart – Representative Scott J. Kawasaki profile Follow the Money – Scott Kawasaki 2006 2004 campaign contributions Alaska's Democratic Caucus – Scott Kawasaki profile Scott Kawasaki at 100 Years of Alaska's Legislature
John Bruce Coghill, Jr. is an American politician. Coghill is a Republican member of the Alaska Senate, representing North Pole and other communities in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. First elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1998, he was appointed to his Senate seat in 2009 and has been the Senate's majority leader since January 2013. John Bruce Coghill, Jr. was born on August 15, 1950 in Fairbanks, Territory of Alaska to Frances Mae "Frannie" and John Bruce "Jack" Coghill, residents of nearby Nenana, Alaska. His paternal grandfather, William Alexander Coghill, was an English-born Scotsman who came to Alaska by way of Canada, settling first in Fairbanks and in Nenana in the early years of both communities, he was raised in Nenana, Alaska before moving to Fairbanks to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He was drafted into the United States Air Force during his first semester in attendance, he served for 5 years in the Air Force during the Vietnam War era, reaching the rank of staff sergeant.
Coghill served as the majority leader for the Alaska State House of Representatives from 2003 to 2006. He was on the Alaska Information Infrastructure Task Force during 2005 and 2006, he was additionally involved in the Local Government Advisory Commission during 2005 and 2006. Coghill was the Minority Leader in 2012. Coghill is the Alaska State Senate Majority Leader, he acquired this position after being nominated by Governor Sean Parnell. Coghill acquired a vice-chair in Senate Rules in 2013 and still holds it; as senate majority leader, Coghill supported bills regarding life insurance reform, boundaries of road service areas, a firefighter and fire department protections, all of which passed in 2015. He plans on supporting the bills "Paramedic on State Medical Board", "Healthcare Sharing Ministries", "Omnibus Criminal Justice Reform Package", "Tribal Court Criminal Procedure" in 2016. Coghill is working to further regulate the use of marijuana in Alaska, legalized in 2014, he is working on criminal justice reform, an energy interior project, addressing "Federal Overreach".
Coghill held a co-chair in the Joint Armed Services Committee Member during 2005 and 2006 and the Health, Education & Social Services Committee from 1999 to 2000. He had the vice-chair in the Special Committee on Military & Veterans’ Affairs from 1999 to 2000. Coghill held a chair in the House State Affairs Committee from 2001 to 2002, he was part of the Special Committee on Fisheries during 2001 and 2002. Coghill was involved in the Health, Education & Social Services Committee from 2001 to 2004, he additionally served in the House Judiciary Committee from 2001 to 2009. Coghill was on the Special Committee on Education in 2003, he was involved in the State Affairs Committee in 2003 and 2004. He was part of the Legislative Council Joint Committee during 2003 to 2009. Coghill has been involved in the Rules Committee from 2003 to modern day, he was on the Special Committee on Economic Development, International Trade, Tourism from 2005 to 2006. He held a chair in the House Rules Committee from 2007 to 2009.
Coghill was a Senate Member of Select Committee on Legislative Ethics from 2010 to 2012. He was a Senate Judiciary committee member from 2010 to 2012, he held a chair from 2013 to 2015. Coghill was part of the Military & Veterans’ Affairs financial sub-committee in 1999 and 2000. Coghill is married to Luann Coghill, has three children and seven grandchildren. Coghill graduated from Nenana Public High School with his high school diploma in 1968. Media related to John Coghill at Wikimedia Commons Alaska Senate Majority Site Alaska State House Majority Site Alaska State Legislature Biography Project Vote Smart profile John B. Coghill at Ballotpedia John Coghill at 100 Years of Alaska's Legislature
Fairbanks is a home rule city and the borough seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in the U. S. state of Alaska. Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. 2016 estimates put the population of the city proper at 32,751, the population of the Fairbanks North Star Borough at 97,121, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Alaska. The Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, located 196 driving miles south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the founding campus of the University of Alaska system. Though, as of yet, there is not a known permanent Alaska Native settlement at the site of Fairbanks, Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years. An archaeological site excavated on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uncovered a Native camp about 3,500 years old, with older remains found at deeper levels.
From evidence gathered at the site, archaeologists surmise that Native activities in the area were limited to seasonal hunting and fishing as fridge temperatures precluded berry gathering. In addition, archeological sites on the grounds of nearby Fort Wainwright date back well over 10,000 years. Arrowheads excavated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks site matched similar items found in Asia, providing some of the first evidence that humans arrived in North America via the Bering Strait land bridge in deep antiquity. Captain E. T. Barnette founded Fairbanks in August 1901 while headed to Tanacross, where he intended to set up a trading post; the steamboat on which Barnette was a passenger, the Lavelle Young, ran aground while attempting to negotiate shallow water. Barnette, along with his party and supplies, were deposited along the banks of the Chena River 7 miles upstream from its confluence with the Tanana River; the sight of smoke from the steamer's engines caught the attention of gold prospectors working in the hills to the north, most notably an Italian immigrant named Felice Pedroni and his partner Tom Gilmore.
The two met Barnette where he convinced him of the potential of the area. Barnette set up his trading post at the site, still intending to make it to Tanacross. Teams of gold prospectors soon congregated around the newly founded Fairbanks. After some urging by James Wickersham, who moved the seat of the Third Division court from Eagle to Fairbanks, the settlement was named after Charles W. Fairbanks, a Republican senator from Indiana and the twenty-sixth Vice President of the United States, serving under Theodore Roosevelt during his second term. In these early years of settlement, the Tanana Valley was an important agricultural center for Alaska until the establishment of the Matanuska Valley Colonization Project and the town of Palmer in 1935. Agricultural activity still occurs today in the Tanana Valley, but to the southeast of Fairbanks in the communities of Salcha and Delta Junction. During the early days of Fairbanks, its vicinity was a major producer of agricultural goods. What is now the northern reaches of South Fairbanks was the farm of Paul J. Rickert, who came from nearby Chena in 1904 and operated a large farm until his death in 1938.
Farmers Loop Road and Badger Road, loop roads north and east of Fairbanks, were home to major farming activity. Badger Road is named for Harry Markley Badger, an early resident of Fairbanks who established a farm along the road and became known as "the Strawberry King". Ballaine and McGrath Roads, side roads of Farmers Loop Road, were named for prominent local farmers, whose farms were in the immediate vicinity of their respective namesake roads. Despite early efforts by the Alaska Loyal League, the Tanana Valley Agriculture Association and William Fentress Thompson, the editor-publisher of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, to encourage food production, agriculture in the area was never able to support the population, although it came close in the 1920s; the construction of Ladd Army Airfield starting in 1939, part of a larger effort by the federal government during the New Deal and World War II to install major infrastructure in the territory for the first time, fostered an economic and population boom in Fairbanks which extended beyond the end of the war.
In the 1940s the Canol pipeline extended north from Whitehorse for a few years. The Haines - Fairbanks 626 mile long 8" petroleum products pipeline was constructed during the period 1953-55; the presence of the U. S. military has remained strong in Fairbanks. Ladd became Fort Wainwright in 1960. Fairbanks suffered from several floods in its first seven decades, whether from ice jams during spring breakup or heavy rainfall; the first bridge crossing the Chena River, a wooden structure built in 1904 to extend Turner Street northward to connect with the wagon roads leading to the gold mining camps washed out before a permanent bridge was constructed at Cushman Street in 1917 by the Alaska Road Commission. On August 14, 1967, after record rainfall upstream, the Chena began to surge over its banks, flooding the entire town of Fairbanks overnight; this disaster led to the creation of the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project, which built and operates the 50-foot-high Moose Creek Dam in the Chena River and accompanying 8-mile-long spillway.
The project was designed to prevent a repetition of the 1967 flood by being able to
Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state; the city's population was 7,831 at the 2010 census, up from 5,469 in 2000. Estimates in 2016 put the population at 9,748. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 396,142 in 2013. Established at the intersection of the Alaska Railroad and Old Carle Wagon Road, the city prospered at the expense of the nearby mining town of Knik. Entrepreneurial, the economic base shifted in the 1970s from small-scale agriculture and recreation to support for workers employed in Anchorage or on Alaska's North Slope oilfields and related infrastructure; the George Parks Highway turned the town into a commuter suburb of Anchorage. Several state and federal agencies have offices in Wasilla, including the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Divisions of Public Assistance, Social Services.
Wasilla gained international attention when Sarah Palin, who served as Mayor of Wasilla before her election as Governor of Alaska, was chosen by John McCain as his running mate for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 United States presidential election. Wasilla is named after a local Dena'ina chief. "Wasilla" is the anglicized spelling of the chief's Russian-given name, Васи́лий Vasilij, which corresponds to the English name Basil. Glacial ice sheets covered most of the northern hemisphere during the last glacial period, between 26,500 and 19,000–20,000 years ago, until they disappeared between 10,000 and about 7,000 years ago. Early humans left evidence of their passage; the Matanuska-Susitna valley was settled by the Dena'ina Alaska natives who utilized the fertile lands and fishing opportunities of Cook Inlet. The Dena'ina are one of the eleven sub-groups comprising the indigenous Athabaskan Indian groups extending down Canada's western coast; the area around downtown Wasilla was known to the Dena'ina as "Benteh", which translates as "among the lakes".
Near the mouth of the Matanuska River, the town of Knik was settled about 1880. In 1900, the Willow Creek Mining District was established to the north and Knik thrived as a mining settlement. In 1917, the U. S. government planned the Alaska Railroad to intersect the Carle Wagon Road which connected Knik and the mines. Knik businesses and residents rushed to buy land nearby, the town declined. Wasilla Station was named for the nearby Wasilla Creek. Local miners used referring to Wassila, a chief of the Dena'ina. There are two sources cited for the name, one being derived from a Dena'ina word meaning "breath of air" while another stating Dena'ina derived it from the Russian name "Vasili." As Knik declined into a ghost town, Wasilla served early fur trappers and miners working the gold fields at Cache Creek and Willow Creek. More than 200 farm families from the Upper Midwest were moved into the Matanuska and Susitna valleys in 1935 as part of a U. S. government program to start a new farming community to counteract this trend.
The area was a supply base for gold mines near Hatcher Pass through World War II. Until construction of the George Parks Highway around 1970, nearby Palmer was the leading city in the Matanuska Valley. Wasilla was at the end of the Palmer-Wasilla highway and the road to Big Lake provided access to land west of Wasilla; the Parks Highway put Wasilla at mile 40–42 of what became the major highway and railroad transportation corridor linking Southcentral Alaska to Interior Alaska. As a result, population growth and community development shifted from the Palmer area to Wasilla and the surrounding area. Wasilla was incorporated as a city in 1974. All non-borough municipalities throughout Alaska are designated cities. In 1994, a statewide initiative to move Alaska's capital to Wasilla was defeated by a vote of about 116,000 to 96,000. About that time, the Matanuska Valley began to recover from an economic collapse, beginning a sustained boom that involved dramatic population growth, increased local employment, a boom in residential and commercial real estate development.
The local real estate market slowed in 2006. In 2008, suburban growth and dwindling snow forced organizers of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to bypass Wasilla permanently, due to a warming climate; the race had its start in Wasilla from 1973 to 2002, the year when reduced snow cover forced a "temporary" change to Willow. Wasilla is located at 61°34′54″N 149°27′9″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 12.4 square miles. 11.7 square miles of it is land and 0.7 square miles of it is water. Located near Wasilla Lake and Lake Lucille, Wasilla is one of two cities in the Matanuska Valley; the community surrounds Mi. 39–46 of the George Parks Highway 43 mi by highway northeast of Anchorage. Nearly one third of the people of Wasilla drive the 40-minute commute to work in Anchorage every day. Six miles to the southeast is Mount POW/MIA. Wasilla has a climate similar to that of Anchorage, but with warmer daytime maxima and colder nighttime minima due to its inland location.
Classified as subarctic climate by Köppen-Geiger climate classification. On average, over the course of the entire year, there are 30–31 days of sub-0 °F lows, 37–38 days of 70 °F + highs, 1.4 days of 80 °F + highs. The average annual precipitation is 17 inches, with 52 inches of snowfall. Wasilla first appeared on the 1930 U. S. Census as
Bill P. Wielechowski is a Democratic member of the Alaska Senate representing District H. District H is located in Anchorage and includes Spenard and the University of Alaska at Anchorage. Prior to the 2012 redistricting process, he represented District J from 2007-2013. Wielechowski was born December 1967, in Ridgewood, New Jersey to a Polish-American family, he attended Seton Hall University earning a bachelor of science in business management and finance and graduating magna cum laude. He attended Seton Hall University School of Law earning his juris doctor in 1992. After moving to Anchorage, he became a volunteer with the Northeast Community Council, as a Commissioner on the Anchorage Planning & Zoning Commission and as chair of the Creekside Town Center. In 1999 he was the designated chair of the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board. In 2003, he served on the mayoral transition team for Mark Begich and went on to serve the city as a member of the 2003 Anchorage School District Budget Review Team and the Mayor's Task Force on Obesity and Health.
In 2004, he stepped down as designated chair of the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board to become associate general counsel for IBEW Local 1547. In 2006, he was elected to the Alaska Senate to replace retiring Democratic incumbent Gretchen Guess in District J, which included the neighborhoods of Mt. View and Russian Jack in Anchorage. In the 2010 election, he defeated Ron Slepecki winning 58% of the vote to Slepecki's 42%, he was a majority member of the Senate Bi-partisan Working Group from 2007 through 2012. He joined the Minority Caucus. In 2013, Senator Wielechowski led an assemblage to repeal SB 21. In 2013 a movement to repeal SB21 was starting to build traction. SB21 was an Alaska Senate Bill, introduced January 16, 2013; the Bill was, according to the Alaska State Legislature website, "An Act relating to the interest rate applicable to certain amounts due for fees and payments made and property delivered to the Department of Revenue. Senator Wielechowski opposed the bill and looked for an alternative approach to work with oil and gas companies.
Senator Wielechowski found what he was seeking in Norway. Wielechowski, a strong opponent of the bill, wrote a "Call to Arms" of sorts, titled Compass: Repeal SB 21, in, The Alaska Dispatch News, For decades, we have attempted to influence oil production by giving massive tax breaks; that policy has been a massive failure. Under the old ELF tax structure, 15 of 19 oil fields paid zero production taxes, the four that did paid a paltry 12.5 percent or less. After decades of low taxes and record oil prices, production plummeted by more than 50 percent, and Alaska lost hundreds of billions of dollars. One need only look at Norway to see. Norway started its Permanent Fund 19 years after ours. Alaska's Permanent Fund has $48 billion. Norway's has more than $800 billion. Imagine what we could do with a Permanent Fund of 20 percent of Norway's. We could create the best education system in the world, eliminate property taxes, provide affordable energy for all Alaskans and increase our PFDs by thousands per year.
Instead, we made a policy call decades ago to give that money to the oil companies -- for more promised production that never came. SB 21 brings us right back to that failed policy. Let's not make that same mistake again. Let's repeal SB 21 and forge a new relationship with the oil industry. How was Norway able to do it? It partners directly with the oil industry; this creates alignment between the government and industry and has allowed Norway to charge a staggering 78 percent rate -- much higher than Alaska's was. Yet business is booming and companies still make huge profits; the opponents of SB 21 gained a victory by having it placed on the 2014 ballot. All the picketing and mass protesting seemed as it was for naught, for in November 2014, the voters chose to keep SB 21, voted no on Ballot Measure 1. In the 2015-2016 legislative session, Wielechowski serves as a member of the following standing committees, he serves on the Special Committee on Federal Overreach, the Joint Committee on Armed Services Media related to Bill Wielechowski at Wikimedia Commons Alaska State Legislature - Senator Bill Wielechowski official government website Project Vote Smart - Senator Bill P. Wielechowski profile Follow the Money - Bill Wielechowski 2006 campaign contributions Bill Wielechowski at 100 Years of Alaska's Legislature
The City and Borough of Juneau known as Juneau, is the capital city of Alaska. It is a unified municipality on Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, it is the second largest city in the United States by area. Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of what was the District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the U. S. Congress in 1900; the municipality unified on July 1, 1970, when the city of Juneau merged with the city of Douglas and the surrounding Greater Juneau Borough to form the current municipality, larger by area than both Rhode Island and Delaware. Downtown Juneau is nestled across the channel from Douglas Island; as of the 2010 census, the City and Borough had a population of 31,276. In 2014, the population estimate from the United States Census Bureau was 32,406, making it the second most populous city in Alaska after Anchorage. Fairbanks, however, is the state's second most populous metropolitan area, with 100,000 residents. Juneau's daily population can increase by 6,000 people from visiting cruise ships between the months of May and September.
The city is named after a gold prospector from Quebec, Joe Juneau, though the place was for a time called Rockwell and Harrisburg. The Tlingit name of the town is Dzántik'i Héeni, Auke Bay just north of Juneau proper is called Áak'w in Tlingit; the Taku River, just south of Juneau, was named after the cold t'aakh wind, which blows down from the mountains. Juneau is unusual among U. S. capitals in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska or to the rest of North America. The absence of a road network is due to the rugged terrain surrounding the city; this in turn makes Juneau a de facto island city in terms of transportation, since all goods coming in and out must go by plane or boat, in spite of the city being on the Alaskan mainland. Downtown Juneau sits at sea level, with tides averaging 16 feet, below steep mountains about 3,500 feet to 4,000 feet high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefield, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow; the Mendenhall glacier has been retreating.
The Alaska State Capitol in downtown Juneau was built as the Federal and Territorial Building in 1931. Prior to statehood, it housed the federal courthouse and a post office, it housed the territorial legislature and many other territorial offices, including that of the governor. Today, Juneau remains the home of the state legislature and the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor; some other executive branch offices have moved elsewhere in the state. Recent discussion has been focused between relocating the seat of state government outside Juneau and building a new capitol building in Juneau. Long before European settlement in the Americas, the Gastineau Channel was a favorite fishing ground for the Auke and Taku tribes, who had inhabited the surrounding area for thousands of years; the A'akw Kwáan had a burying ground here. In the 21st century it is known as Indian Point, they annually harvested herring during the spawning season, celebrated this bounty. Since the late 20th century, the A'akw Kwáan, together with the Sealaska Heritage Institute, have resisted European-American development of Indian Point, including proposals by the National Park Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
They consider it sacred territory, both because of the burying ground and the importance of the point in their traditions of gathering sustenance from the sea. They continue to gather clams, gumboots and sea urchins here, as well as tree bark for medicinal uses; the city and state supported Sealaska Heritage Institute in documenting the 78-acre site, in August 2016 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. "It is the first traditional cultural property in Southeast Alaska to be placed on the register."Descendants of these indigenous cultures include the Tlingit people. Native cultures have rich artistic traditions expressed in carving, orating and dancing. Juneau has become a major social center for the Tlingit and Tsimshian of Southeast Alaska. Although the Russians had a colony in the Alaska territory from 1784 to 1867, they did not settle in Juneau, they conducted extensive fur trading with Alaskan Natives of the Aleutian Islands and Kodiak. Some ships explored this area, but did not record it.
The first European to see the Juneau area is recorded as Joseph Whidbey, master of the Discovery during George Vancouver’s 1791–95 expedition. He and his party explored the region in July–August 1794. Early in August he viewed the length of Gastineau Channel from the south, noting a small island in mid-channel, he recorded seeing the channel again, this time from the west. He said. After the California gold rush, miners migrated up the Pacific Coast and explored the West, seeking other gold deposits. In 1880, Sitka mining engineer George Pilz offered a reward to any local chief in Alaska who could lead him to gold-bearing ore. Chief Kowee arrived with some ore, several prospectors were sent to in