Candidate for District 1 Assembly
My sister, Kirsa; our mother, Agra; our two dogs, Pluto Barksdale and Jenny Gump, and our cat, Daisy Mae.
Grants Administrator for the State of Alaska
Current District 1 Assembly member; Alaska Folk Festival board member; former League of Women Voters board member.
Winter solstice or summer solstice?Both are best celebrated with a bonfire and friends, giving thanks for the amazing place we live, but I do like wearing a flower crown in summer.
I’m running because my experience serving on the Assembly has been overwhelmingly positive. It was an honor to be chosen, and it sort of convinced me that this is the best way I can give back to the community. I’ve just had a ton of opportunities since moving to Juneau 15 years ago, and I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure it remains a place of opportunity. It’s given me a home, it’s given me a community, and I want to protect that home and make sure it’s a positive community.
Cuts to school bond debt reimbursement and Medicaid will have significant impacts on communities. What can Juneau do to mitigate the impact of state budget cuts?
We’re definitely going to see effects of the cost shifts from the state to the city. I think the best thing the city can do is figure out what our essential services are and figure out how we protect those so we’re not doubling up the impact to any vulnerable population. The state did it in a really jerky, sort of grind fashion that was not really what I would consider the best thought-out way to implement cuts so, at the city level, I think it will be important for us to figure out how we can smooth those out to the residents and to the local economy so that we’re not furthering any impacts of harm.
Juneau has a significant increase in cruise ship tourism in one year, according to visitor industry estimates. Is the city doing enough to manage the growing number of cruise ship visitors? Why or why not?
I think we can expect to see the numbers — the growth that we saw in this past year — I don’t think that’s going to continue based on the estimates, so I think we’ll see that number level off. However, that is a really significant number to a town this size, and I understand people are upset. I think the city can do more to manage that more efficiently. The Archipelago project, I think when we finish decking that area over, that’s going to be an asset just in terms of space to put that sheer number of people. I think it’s probably a good idea to take a look at our waterfront plan, some of our plans that deal with the areas most impacted by tourism. They’re outdated. Look at them, how we can better manage the tourists we already have here.
The Juneau Police Department and Capital City Fire/Rescue are struggling with staffing shortages. What should the Juneau Assembly do about this?
The city has taken some steps already. We just got through finishing the contract negotiations for the various unions, including the public safety first responders. This is a nationwide problem, unfortunately. So I think it’s really important that the city puts the financial, you know, money where your mouth is, that they’re fully funded and that it’s a competitive so that can help with their recruitment. But we also are trying to look creatively to what is the quality of life like in their actual job life? What’s it going to take to retain them? But it is a nationwide problem and we take it seriously. It’s just figuring out what that magic bullet might be.
Do you support additional city funding for improvements to Centennial Hall and a new Juneau Arts and Culture Center? Why or why not?
I will be voting yes. Centennial Hall, definitely we know it needs some significant remodels and re-improvements. We’ve heard that from the staff there and we know to keep a building running it’s better to take care of it now than push it off to the future, and it has already been pushed off. I support the JACC as well and think it’s going to be an economic driver for our community. I think, for a city that has such a thriving arts and culture scene, we’ll have the location that matches that drive.