Gov. Sarah Palin appointed members of her Cabinet on Thursday to a new group charged with finding ways to make Alaska's rural areas better places to live.
Called the Rural Subcabinet, the group of top department heads will be told to look at two big issues, energy costs and out-migration from rural Alaska, and make proposals aimed at creating well-paying jobs, stronger schools, safer communities and better public works facilities.
In announcing the new subcabinet, Palin said that while some out-migration was natural, it isn't always.
"I want the Rural Subcabinet to look for ways to make certain migration is a result of personal decisions, not despair or a lack of choice resulting from economic pressures or other factors," she said.
Currying favor with a constituency makes politicians say funny things. Moving as a result of economic pressures is a personal decision. Should you be able to keep your job because you like it?
Governor Palin's mandate is clear: Put the jobs where people want to live. To do so, spend gobs of money to build up the infrastructure in places where the least of people reside. In a nutshell, that is "The Bridge to Nowhere." Think of it in term of dollars per capita:
[Kathie Wasserman, executive director of the Alaska Municipal League,] said keeping a few families in town can sometimes make all the difference.
"If you have two families leave, that's a huge chunk of your community," she said. "It might not mean a lot to Anchorage, but it means a lot to Pelican."
How much will it cost Alaska to keep those two families in Pelican? Palin is looking for a rural bailout. How quaint.