Dan Sullivan just became first mayor of Anchorage to take the oath of office while on vacation in Hawaii.
On Monday afternoon, a robed Anchorage judge stood at a lectern in Anchorage before a group of city officials, interns and reporters and delivered the oath to Sullivan via a Skyped-in image of the mayor.
Sullivan, who wore a Hawaiian floral-printed shirt to the ceremony, held up his hand and took the oath as the ceremony was projected on a screen back home.
“Congratulations, Mayor Sullivan," said District Court Judge Brian Clark. "I wish you the best in your second term.”
A representative for the mayor of Honolulu presented leis to Sullivan and his wife -- and the questions immediately followed from local news reporters: Why are you in Hawaii? Why didn’t you wait until you got back to take the oath? Don’t you think this might look bad?
The mayor disagreed with the last question, saying: “What really matters is the words that you swear to and affirm to ... not so much where you are.” He is in Hawaii for a family reunion.
Some Alaskans, sensitive to their state’s peripheral position in the nation’s consciousness, have disagreed.
“Wow. How tone deaf is this guy?” wrote Sheila Toomey in an Anchorage Daily News editorial on Sunday. “If the rumor mill is right, he's planning to run for governor. Maybe his staff should clue him in to the fact that Alaskans are kind of state-proud, as in, you should actually be in the state when you take the oath of office as mayor of the largest city in the state.”
The city calls for a mayor to be sworn in on July 1 or as soon thereafter as is practical, the Associated Press reported. Sullivan doesn't return from Hawaii until July 16.
A spokesperson for the mayor said the trip didn’t cost the taxpayers anything.
The mayor said the ceremony was legit. However he also plans to take another oath when he returns to Anchorage.
Sullivan said it was easier to take the oath across the miles than rearrange all the schedules of his family. He also thought it was better to take the oath sooner rather than later, so as not to leave any question about the beginning of his term.
“It’s an honor today to be able to share this experience with my Hawaiian family and friends,” he said.
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