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By the Numbers: What the Government Shutdown Means for Alaska

October 01, 2013|Austin Baird | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The almost-day-old partial government shutdown is having varied affects across Alaska. Here's a look at what the shutdown means, by the numbers:


Of the 750 National Park Service employees in Alaska, spokesperson John Quigley says 64 are working today. That number will continue to drop, likely to about 40, if the shutdown continues late into this week.


Military support personnel across the state have been furloughed, including 250 civilian employees at Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright are furloughed until the government is up and running again, according to Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Alan Brown.


Bill Misner, owner of "Bill's Mini Cache," a snackshop inside the downtown Anchorage federal building, says he usually gets 250 customers per day. On the first day of the shutdown, Misner says the usual line of people has disappeared.



No members of Alaska's Congressional delegation have wholeheartedly supported the shutdown.

Rep. Don Young, a Republican, offered this thought: "They are never a good idea, and we must try to find a resolution."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican: "We have not seen negotiation between Republicans and Democrats ... everyone has kind of been in their own silos."

Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat: "The answer is so simple: just put the piece of legislation on the floor. Keep it clean ... government would be open, business would go back, and we could then focus on fixing the Affordable Care Act."


Since the modern Congressional budgeting process took effect, the Washington Post reports, there have been 17 partial government shutdowns.

Past shutdowns were caused by everything from abortion to a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the linking of a crime-fighting package and a water projects package.

17 years.

Maybe the best remembered shutdown is the most recent one, which ended 17 years ago. In 1995, spilling into 1996, there were two partial shutdowns over a three-month span. Those shutdowns were not fully embraced by Alaska's Congressional delegation, either.

Six days into the first 1995 shutdown, Sen. Ted Stevens, a Republican, told the Washington Times, "The nation's security is in jeopardy if we do not pay these people."

The Washington Times reported on Dec. 10, 1995 that Rep. Don Young tried to pass a bill allowing states to operate federal parks and wildlife refuges during a government shutdown.

10 percent.

According to results of a CNN/ORC survey released Sept. 30, Congress had an approval rating of 10 percent on the eve of the shutdown of non-essential government employees.

The number ties the low point over the nearly 40 years Gallup has tracked Congressional approval ratings each month.

90 percent.

Congress as a whole is unpopular, but people seem to love their own legislators. 90 percent of incumbent House members and 91 percent of incumbent Senate members were re-elected in 2012, according to Open Secrets.

The rate for both chambers is up from 2010. Rep. Don Young, a Republican, has been in office since 1973, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, since 2004, and Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, since 2008. Articles