Not many politicians are as beloved as the honorary mayor of Talkeetna AK, a town of 900. When he died at the ripe old age of 20 years and 3 months, he was mourned by the whole town. People on both sides of the political aisle were saddened as they said goodbye to their favorite public servant.
Stubbs, so named because he was part Manx and had a stub tail, came to power when he was just a kitten. Frustrated with the slate of candidates for mayor of the town, people wrote in Stubb’s name on the ticket, and surprisingly enough, he won!
Some claim that the story can’t possibly be true, because the town is only an historic district, and would therefore not have had an election. But the people of Talkeetna wouldn’t agree. They think he was the best mayor ever.
Lauri Stec, manager of Nagley's General Store, Stubbs’s main haunt, says the cat has been a good leader when it comes to local small businesses. "He doesn't raise our taxes - we have no sales tax. He doesn't interfere with business,” she said. "He's honest.”
Yet, Stubbs was somewhat of a diva in one small way. Every afternoon, he enjoyed his water mixed with catnip, served in a wine or tequila glass. A small price to pay for the tourism he brought into the town. Upwards of 30-40 visitors stopped to ask to meet him everyday.
Over the years, Stubbs had a pronounced effect on the local economy, drawing visitors from all over and helping the local businesses to flourish.
In 2014, when the people wanted to protest the Senate race in Alaska, there was a move to write in Stubbs on the ballot. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t win that one. The people who loved him would have been sad to see him leave for Washington, anyway!
Stubbs crossed the Rainbow Bridge on July 21, 2017, after a long and productive life in his hometown. He is survived by his successor, a kitten named Denali.
The question is: Will Denali be able to fill the enormous shoes left by Mayor Stubbs? Only time will tell.