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Jesse Kiehl claims District 1 Assembly seat

Wanamaker, running unopposed, wins open District 2 seat

Posted: October 5, 2011 - 12:03am
Jesse Kiehl watching election results come in at the Assembly Chamber Tuesday evening with his daughter, Adara Allen, 7. Kiehl won over Brad Fluetsch for the District 1 Assembly seat.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Jesse Kiehl watching election results come in at the Assembly Chamber Tuesday evening with his daughter, Adara Allen, 7. Kiehl won over Brad Fluetsch for the District 1 Assembly seat.

Jesse Kiehl defeated Brad Fluetsch by more than a 2-to-1 margin Tuesday to claim an empty seat on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, representing District 1.

Kiehl, a legislative aide to state Sen. Dennis Egan said he received good responses in door-to-door campaigning, and entered Tuesday with a mix of exhaustion and optimism.

“A lot of people were very receptive,” to his message, said Kiehl, who replaces term-limited Merrill Sanford.

The Assemblymember-elect said the three largest issues Juneauites raised during his campaign were the city’s landfill, affordable housing and securing Juneau’s status as Alaska’s capital. Kiehl also said the city’s budget crisis — nearly an $8 million expected shortfall over the next two fiscal years — would be high on his to-do list.

“You don’t have the luxury of focusing on one issue at a time,” he said.

Fluetsch expressed surprise at his disappointing showing.

“I was thinking it would be a little closer that it was,” he said. “I was a little surprised I polled so poorly.”

Fluetsch, who lost a 2006 mayoral campaign, said he thought his political career was over. He said he intended to focus on private practice. He didn’t rule out service on a committee, whether at the state local level.

Randy Wanamaker ran unopposed for an open District 2 seat. He expressed an interest in serving either as deputy mayor, or on the Public Works and Facilities Committee.

“I have the experience as having served a deputy mayor, and I know how to run the meetings,” said Wanamaker, who replaces Malcolm Menzies on the Assembly.

He also said the first issue the city will need to tackle is replacing City Manager Rod Swope, who plans to retire in early-to-mid 2012. Wanamaker also said the city needs to change its planning, so it looks ahead 10 or more years.

• Contact Deputy Managing Editor Charles Ward at 523-2266 or at charles.ward@juneauempire.com.

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