The Alaska Public Radio Network looks into the world of lobbying by Alaska communities trying to grab a share of the capital budget. Unalaska Mayor Shirley Marquardt presumably speaks for many of the 40 towns and cities that sent lobbyists to Juneau this legislative session when she says it's a good deal:
Unalaska spent about $80,000 on [lobbyist Ray] Gillespie’s services. Marquardt says that they haven’t gotten everything they want, but they’ve managed to protect $6 million in funding for water treatment plants. She’s pleased with the arrangement.
“Communities all over the state think it’s a worthwhile expenditure to have someone, if you can afford it and if you’re lucky enough to get somebody who really understands the process,” says Marquardt.
Marquardt says that by having someone in Juneau, the city saves a lot of staff time and travel money. Their lobbyist can schedule a meeting with a senator’s office without having to board two flights.
For his part, Gillespie says he and his cohorts are more than "hired guns."
“Yeah, of course. We’re salesmen, but most lobbyists have some experience and background in government or in the Legislature.”
And he says that in a state with so many small communities and such a small tax base, state funding can play a big role in a city’s budget.
Read more at AlaskaPublic.org: For Alaska cities, lobbying pays