Michelle Bonnet Hale
Candidate for District 2 Assembly
I’m married to Jim Hale. I have five stepkids. I have family in Juneau–my brother, my mom actually lives next door, my aunt lives here, many cousins. My stepkids are all grown.
I am a registered Democrat. I am socially progressive, but my progressive friends think I’m too conservative often. My conservative friends think I’m too progressive often. So I’m a moderate.
I have a business that I’ve just purchased, a framing business. So I frame pictures. I also have a small art business. So those are the two primary ways. I make a very small stipend for working for the assembly, which doesn’t quite cut earning a living.
I’m an expert on water quality. I’m also pretty darn good at software development. I am an expert on living in Southeast Alaska because I’ve lived almost my entire life here. And I’m also really well-versed in public process, the governmental public process.
I’ve learned a lot in my first three years on the assembly. I’ve learned how to be effective within the context of the assembly and the committee structure. I think I’ve done a lot of good for Juneau. And I love Juneau and know, Juneau, and I actually want to apply the skills I’ve learned one more term.
Regarding COVID-19, at what point, or under what conditions do you think Juneau should fully reopen?
Our Emergency Operations Center has added a green category and this was at the request of Mayor Weldon. At what point should we fully reopen? And the green category, I believe, is when basically when everybody who qualifies for a vaccine has qualified for the time it takes to get it doesn’t mean they all have to have had it. It’s just that they qualified for the time it takes.
Do you think the pace of development and economic growth in Juneau is too fast, too slow or about right? Why?
The pace of economic growth in Juneau right now is too slow, and it’s been slowed by COVID. And I think that is one of the critical things that we as assembly members in the upcoming several years need to focus on is to make sure that that pace continues well, and Juneau’s economy becomes strong again.
I think we had a really good example of that in the Assembly meeting on Sept. 13, I guess it was. We were talking about repealing the coastal management provisions in city code. And we had quite a debate. We went back and forth with amendments, and I appealed to my colleagues to take the step to repeal it and move forward. I did so in a respectful way and really hoped that they would, and they did.
City-hired experts produced new hazard maps for avalanches and landslides — how should the city balance responsible development with the needs of community members already living there?
I think we don’t want to do what Sitka did, which is pass an ordinance and then have to repeal it. I think we need to think really carefully about this. We also need to think really carefully about which are the highest hazard areas and try to address those. There have been people that have suggested to me that the city explore buyout of those really high hazard areas. I think it’s worth looking at, actually, we need to think about this. Take our time.
Which parts of Juneau do you think are underserved by the city administration and what will you do about it?
I think, despite many efforts, the Lemon Creek area is still underserved. I think it’s often the the forgotten child in Juneau. There’s a lot that we can do, a lot that has been done. There’s a new park going in that area. I think the systemic racism review committee is going to help as we go through the budget and help us shine a light on the areas that we’re not paying enough attention to. I think that’s a good approach.