JUNEAU — Railbelt lawmakers are leaving Juneau this weekend for a series of meetings with constituents and the funeral of an Alaska political icon.
On Saturday, former lieutenant governor (and state constitution signatory) Jack Coghill will be laid to rest in Nenana. Gov. Mike Dunleavy, U.S. Rep. Don Young and numerous state lawmakers are expected to attend the service.
“I’m sure we’re all going to miss him,” said Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy, who worked for Coghill as a young man and occasionally relied on his advice as a politician.
Also on Saturday, lawmakers in Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Fairbanks will meet with their constituents in a series of meetings.
Rep. Harriet Drummond, D-Spenard, said she expects “massive crowds” when Anchorage lawmakers hold a town hall meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Anchorage School District Education Center, 5530 E. Northern Lights Blvd.
The town hall meeting will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., then the crowd will be split up by senate district, with meetings continuing until 12:30 p.m..
Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage, are expected to continue to meet with East Anchorage constituents until 1 p.m.
Reps. Matt Claman, Rep. Andy Josephson and Drummond, and Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, all Anchorage Democrats, will hold a second meeting for their constituents from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office, 1500 W. Benson Blvd.
Because of former Lt. Gov. Coghill’s funeral and other prior commitments, not every Anchorage lawmaker is able to attend this weekend’s town hall meetings. A second town hall will take place on Saturday, March 2 from 2-4:30 p.m. at East High School, 4025 E. Northern Lights Blvd.
The Chugiak/Eagle River legislative delegation will hold its town hall meeting 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the Chugiak Senior Center. Sen. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River; Rep. Kelly Merrick, R-Eagle River; Rep. Sharon Jackson, R-Eagle River; and Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer/Chugiak, are scheduled to attend. Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, was also scheduled but is unable to attend, her office said.
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough legislative town hall will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday at Fronteras Spanish Immersion Charter School, 2315 N. Seward Meridian Parkway, in Wasilla.
Scheduled attendees include Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla; Sen. Mike Shower, R-Wasilla; Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer; Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla; Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake; Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla; and Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer. Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton, is ill and unable to attend, he said. Tilton also was scheduled and is unable to attend.
In Fairbanks, Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, and Rep. Grier Hopkins, D-Fairbanks, are scheduled to host a town hall meeting 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Loon, according to a newsletter from Wool.
In Ketchikan, Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, is scheduled to attend a noon Friday meeting of the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and will host a coffee meeting with constituents between 10 a.m. and noon at The Landing Board Room, according to a message from his office.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Friday morning to reflect that Sen. Dan Sullivan no longer plans to attend the funeral for former Lt. Gov. Jack Coghill.