Some called the 2014 Alaska election year the Second Battle for Statehood. Did we win?
That depends on your point of view, and points of view are what we publish here in the opinion section of Alaska Dispatch News.
That battle for statehood was dominated by two issues -- oil taxes and marijuana -- and two statewide election races, for U.S. Senate and governor. Alaskans decided to stick with the oil tax cuts and legalize marijuana. Alaskans ordered Mark Begich home and sent Dan Sullivan to the Senate. And then Alaskans voted for a historic unity ticket, making erstwhile Republican Bill Walker the new governor and Democrat Byron Mallott the lieutenant governor.
All along the way, we argued. And argued. And argued some more. Other topics, like feral cats in Anchorage and air quality in Fairbanks momentarily wrested attention from the biggest election races. We made more progress discussing persistent social ills like violence, racism and suicide. And as in years past, an idea implicit in many commentaries was how best to chart Alaska's future without abandoning its past.
In the end, most Alaskans agreed on one thing. We were glad the election ended, letting us turn to the challenges and opportunities that face us together. That's why the photo accompanying the top of this list features a sky full of northern lights, not a mailbox full of campaign flyers or cheesy mug shots of candidates.
So here's our selection of readers' and writers' work from 2014. As always, thanks for reading and writing; without you all this is a lonely enterprise. We hope to hear from you again in 2015, and may we all enjoy the adventure.
Scott Woodham and Frank Gerjevic are the opinion pages editors for Alaska Dispatch News.
The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com