Not long ago, a previously esteemed, and here unnamed, state senator labelled a local Mat-Su Valley citizen, “just more valley trash”. Not only that, he did it in writing! That comment spawned T-shirt campaigns, bumper stickers, and practically a whole economy.
Since then, Sarah Palin, former mayor of Wasilla smashed two powerful ex-governors for the right to run Alaska. The Wasilla High School boys flashed their way to the state championships, Colony, another Mat-Su team came in second. Wasilla High School Girls bashed their competition to become the girls state champs. Not only that the second most powerful executive position belongs to Attorney General, Talis Colberg, a Palmer resident.
Beth Bragg recently wrote an article about how Wasilla is no longer the wide spot in the road. While many Anchorage people still joke about “Wasilla garages”, (a blue tarp), and valley malls, (gravel pits with an espresso stand at one end), she recognizes that the valley is becoming a force in Alaska primarily because of population growth.
As Niel Fried mentioned, the Valley is growing faster than any other Alaskan community in almost every way. The valley has the room to grow. The Mat-Su Borough is larger than many states. It really is a bedroom community for the entire state of Alaska. People who work in Anchorage live here, people who work on the oil fields live here, people who work in the fishing industry live here. And those of us who live and work here, live off of everyone else.
Still, it’s fun to joke about the valley. A few years ago, some clients from Anchorage who have since become friends fell in love with a Palmer home. When we went back to the office to write the offer we reviewed the disclosure form. We were shocked to silence by the disclosure of a brutal murder in the home. After a few moments of awkwardness I broke the ice with, “what did you expect?, you are moving to the valley after all.” They bought the house.