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Mayor Stubbs of Talkeetna.

July 2013

Cute and cuddly rarely comes to mind when describing a mayor of any town, but in Talkeetna, a small town in Alaska, cute and cuddly is definitely the right description. Why? Because for the past fifteen years the mayor of Talkeetna has been a cat. For the 800 citizens of this small Alaskan town, this is far from a joke. Stabs was appointed as mayor 15 years ago while still a kitten and townsfolk claim to be deeply satisfied with his performance during his time in office.

Stubbs turned up in the nick of time. The story goes that he was found by a local storekeeper just before the town's elections. The kitten was given the name 'Mr Stubbs' because, being part Manx his tail is, well, stubby. At the time people really didn't like the look of any of the candidates for mayor and had a real dilemma about how to vote.

Stubbs proved the ideal compromise candidate. He was charming, polite and had both a clean character and no controversial policies. Once adopted by Lauri Stec, manager of Nagley's General Store, he became a citizen of Talkeetna and eligible for the town's highest office. Since then Stubbs has been unopposed every year for the last 15 years and his approval rating is as high as it was in the first year. Stubbs is honest, has never raised taxes and never meddles with townfolk's business.

Sadly there is one flaw with this story - the town is technically only a 'historical district' so Stubbs can't have been elected to the post of mayor, because officially there is not one. In fact his position is that of 'honorary mayor' with a special portfolio for tourism. Deep in the Alaskan interior, Talkeetna is believed to have been the model on which the town of Cicely was based in the TV series 'Northern Exposure'. Mayor Stubbs has further added to the town's idiosyncratic appeal, and he makes room in his busy schedule of feeds and cat-naps to greet visitors to the town with quiet dignity.

Like many in his position, Stubbs does enjoy some perks of office. After all, what mayor does not like drinking catnip-flavoured water out of a wine glass and having his belly rubbed by constituents? You can see Stubbs in this short video below, and if you find yourself passing through Talkeetna do stop to say hello to the mayor.


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