The mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, is celebrating fifteen years on the job, which is pretty much his whole life.
A few years ago I visited Anchorage, Alaska on vacation. Little did I realize that just two hours north was the historic little town of Talkeetna.
Sitting in the shadow of Mount McKinley with a spectacular view of the Alaska Range, this town attracts a lot of visitors who want to hike, climb, camp and fish, and go rafting and flight-seeing, but most of them want to meet the mayor while they are there.
Some days he's a little difficult to locate. Sure, he spends a lot of time hanging out at the general store, but you'll occasionally find him wandering around town, even sleeping in the alley to avoid the tourists.
The residents, all nine hundred of them, don't really seem to mind. You have to expect that of a fifteen-year-old. That would be a fifteen-year-old CAT named "Stubbs".
Back when Stubbs was just a kitten, the voters weren't too impressed with the mayoral candidates, so they launched a write-in campaign. When the votes were counted, Stubbs was the new mayor, a position he has held for the last fifteen years.
The citizens say he's been a good mayor – he has never raised taxes, he doesn't interfere with business. In fact, he's good for business - sometimes as many as forty tourists stop in Talkeetna in a single day in hopes of meeting Mayor Stubbs.
The general store employees, acting as the mayor's unofficial staff, handle all the cards and letters sent to him. And his popularity is not limited to the town and its visitors; this political cat has around thirteen thousand subscribers on Facebook.
So does everyone in town love Mayor Stubbs? Maybe not on days when he wanders into a business and takes a nap, leaving behind some of his mayoral fur. But what are you going to do? He runs the town.
In a year when politics can get really ugly, it's great to hear about a place where the citizens don't fight like, well, cats and dogs, where a political animal can actually make you smile, and where your furry best friend may just grow up to be the next mayor, when you're speaking of pets.