Candidate for Areawide Assembly
- Areawide Assembly
- Jeff Jones
- Nano Brooks
- Ella Adkison
- JoAnn Wallace
- Paul Kelly
- Emily Mesch
- Laura Martinson McDonnell
- Ivan Nance
- Michele Stuart-Morgan
- Dorene Lorenz
- District 2 Assembly
- David Morris
- Christine Woll
- School Board
- David Noon
- Britteny Cioni-Haywood
- Paige Sipniewski
- District 1 Assembly
- Alicia Hughes-Skandijs
- Joe Geldhof
Age as of Oct. 3, 2023
Family (immediate/those you live with)
OccupationCurrent: Seasonal/Tourism; Recently: Social Work
Previous relevant experience or community involvement
I served on the Skagway Arts Council from 2018 until my move to Juneau in 2019. That same year, I joined the boards for Congregation Sukkat Shalom and the Southeast Alaska LGBTQ Alliance, and I currently remain on both. I also currently serve on the Juneau Human Rights Commission, which I was appointed to in 2021, and was elected president of the Southeast Alaska LGBTQ Alliance in 2022. In my capacity as a professional, I worked for the State of Alaska’s Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing, from 2019 to 2020, and worked in the City and Borough of Juneau’s Public Information Office during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the end of the pandemic, I transitioned to work in the city-run Shéiyi X̱aat Hít Youth Shelter.
Highest level of educationBA in Business Administration
Do you support ballot proposition 1?
What's your favorite spot in Juneau?The little wetlands parking lot off of Egan just between the new U-Haul building and the Vanderbilt Road intersection. On winter evenings, you can often find me there, sitting in my car with the engine and the lights off, a small candle lit to conserve warmth, just looking out my windshield and watching Douglas Island, the darkness, and the movement of the clouds.
I think there’s a lot of things. I’ve had a lot of different perspectives, both in Juneau and outside of Juneau. I’ve worked at the state, the city level as well as private industry. I’ve lived downtown and in the Valley. And I think I have a good perspective on a lot of different issues and I’m able to listen. I think that’s one of the key things for you to listen to your constituents. And even if you disagree, sometimes you have to go with what the city wants as opposed to what you want, and that’s a value that I hold very strongly.
The city is asking voters to fund a new city hall through a $27 million bond. What are your thoughts?
I think most of Juneau understands that a new city hall is a necessity. The question is how we go about it, and I think that’s where the disagreement is. I’m glad to see it on the ballot again, slightly modified. I think those are the two issues that are different this year than last year: last year it was a higher amount that was on the ballot, and people thought we were going to be able to use the Walmart building, and now that it’s been bought by U-Haul, I think people understand that that’s not an option, so I think they’re more likely to approve the plan that the Assembly put forward. I think it’s a good plan, but it does need the approval of the citizens of Juneau before it moves forward.
We definitely need to control tourism in some way, manage it in some way, because we don’t want these large, multinational organizations to come in and control our city. The Assembly instituted a five-ship cruise limit that will take effect next year. I strongly support that. I want to see what happens. We might have to adjust it going down the line or it might not be a good idea, but it’s a worthy experiment because we need to keep our city. We need to find some balance between the benefits that cruise ship tourism provides us and the needs of our residents just to live a normal life. Finding that balance is very important.
There isn’t one answer, I don’t think. There’s a multi-pronged approach that we need to take, and that’s kind of been my mantra for a couple different issues. But housing is one where, anything that’s on the table that can help alleviate housing, whether it’s opening up new areas for development, whether it’s the initiative the Assembly put forth to help people expand their current housing and build additions. We can investigate non-market housing where it’s rent-controlled or subsidized. There are so many different possibilities we can do. We need to explore every possible avenue. But I know more than one person who is living in a hotel right now, just because they can’t find an apartment. They can afford it, they just can’t find it. And we can’t have that situation.
City-hired experts produced hazard maps for avalanches and landslides — how should the city balance responsible development with the needs of community members already living here?
I think responsible development is part of the needs of the community that’s already living here. If we don’t have a voice saying this is a bad place to build, then it’s easy for developers to take advantage of potential homeowners and land-buyers, and sell them a piece of land that is more dangerous they think. Buyer beware, but the city has a role in making sure that residents know what they’re getting into. We don’t want to see more tragedies like last month at Mendenhall River. Things are going to happen, this is Juneau – we’re going to have avalanches, we’re going to have landslides, but we want to be able to minimize that as much as possible. Saving lives is, at the end of the day, the most important thing.
There are so many issues facing Juneau. We have school funding issues because the state has gone back and forth on what they’re going to give us. We have housing issues. We have, across the board, staffing issues, both within the city and in private industry. We need to have more, better-trained people living in Juneau in our workforce. We know we have challenges here, they’re meetable challenges, they’re solvable problems. But there’s so many little things we need to be looking at, and taking a hard look and saying, ‘Okay, practically, what’s the right solution here?’ That’s what I want to bring – I want to bring thoughtful analysis and look for the best solutions to our problems. And then also what are the solutions that Juneau wants, because those aren’t necessarily the same things all the time and you need to have something that does both.