Final election results show Paul Kelly, Ella Adkison will join Juneau Assembly

Paul Kelly and Ella Adkison wave to drivers on Election Day. (Katie Anastas/KTOO)

Final results in Juneau’s municipal election show areawide candidates Paul Kelly and Ella Adkison will be joining the Assembly while Alicia Hughes-Skandijs and Christine Woll held onto their seats. David Noon and Britteny Cioni-Haywood will be the newest members of the Juneau School Board.

Meanwhile, voters soundly defeated the latest proposal to fund a new city hall.

Turnout was up this year. Nearly 34% of registered Juneau voters voted in this election, compared to 32.87% last year.

Kelly and Adkison win areawide seats

Two areawide seats were up for grabs this year. Paul Kelly held a strong lead in the 10-person race from election day, but Ella Adkison’s lead over Nano Brooks narrowed with each update. As of Friday, Adkison had just 116 more votes than Brooks.

But Adkison held her lead through the final count, receiving a total of 114 more votes than Brooks.

Kelly wound up with about 20% of the votes cast in the areawide race. He said he plans to continue the outreach he did to voters during the election.

“It’s still not quite a majority, or anything close to a majority of Juneau voters, so I think that’s really going to shape my first term in office,” he said. “It’s going to need to be a lot about constituent outreach.”

Kelly will serve a three-year term, and Adkison will serve the remaining two years of former member Carole Triem’s term.

Incumbents win district seats

Assembly members Alicia Hughes-Skandijs and Christine Woll won the District 1 and 2 races, respectively. Hughes-Skandijs received 1,462 more votes than Joe Geldhof, and Woll received 2,475 more votes than David Morris.

“One of the most fulfilling things I’ve gotten to do is represent the people of Juneau in this capacity,” Hughes-Skandijs said. “It’s a good feeling to still have folks want you there.”

Hughes-Skandijs said she’s eager to continue the Assembly’s efforts to increase access to housing in Juneau. In the last year, they’ve increased the city’s accessory dwelling unit grants, started a short-term rental registration program and approved a discounted land sale to Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority.

She and Woll will each serve another three-year term.

Juneau School Board candidates Britteny Cioni-Haywood and David Noon at the 2023 Juneau League of Women Voters Candidate Forum on Sept. 13, 2023. (Photo by Adelyn Baxter/KTOO)

Noon and Cioni-Haywood elected to school board

David Noon and Britteny Cioni-Haywood held strong leads for the two available school board seats from the first vote count. In the end, Noon got 5,739 votes and Cioni-Haywood got 5,377. 

The third school board candidate, Paige Sipniewski, was the only candidate to embrace culture war issues like restricting the rights of transgender students and banning certain books from school libraries. She got 3,061 votes. 

Noon, a history professor at the University of Alaska Southeast, said he’s heard from teachers and other staff about declining morale amid flat-funding from the state and new mandates from the Alaska Reads Act.

“That’s one of the things in the district I’m most concerned about – the possibility that we’re going to lose some really good teachers who’ve been here for a really long time, or we’re going to fail to retain some quality educators and staffers who are new to the district,” he said.

Cioni-Haywood said she’s looking forward to bringing her experience with budgeting to the school board. She previously directed the state’s Division of Economic Development.

“I feel like there are no easy decisions left,” she said. “I think one of the most important things when you’re facing those types of decisions is to be very transparent and to be very clear as to what the consequences are going to be.”

Cioni-Haywood is the chair of Juneau Community Charter School’s board. She said she plans to step down as chair but remain a board member.

Noon and Cioni-Haywood will replace Brian Holst and Martin Stepetin on the school board. Holst has been on the board since 2014, and Stepetin was elected in 2020.

City hall bond rejected

Last year, 246 more people voted no than yes on a $35 million city hall bond proposal. This year that margin grew to 633 votes even though city leaders reduced the size of the bond and mounted a $50,000 campaign to advocate for the project.

“There’s probably many different reasons why people voted no, and now it’s our job to listen to the public and figure out how to move forward in a thoughtful way,” said City Manager Katie Koester.

Koester said the $16 million the Assembly has allocated to City Hall could be spent on repairs and renovations at the current building. She said city staff would discuss any potential renovations or leases at other office space with the Assembly.

“It’s important that the space is convenient and accessible,” Koester said. “What that might look like in the future is a very open-ended question right now.”

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