David G. Stone, Juneau’s deputy mayor, is termed out this year after three consecutive terms as a member of the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly from District 1.
Two candidates are on the ballot to succeed Stone as Assemblymember: Loren Jones, a retired state employee who lives in West Juneau, and Paul Nowlin, an office manager at Petro Marine Services who lives in Lemon Creek.
District 1 covers downtown Juneau, Thane, Douglas Island, Lemon Creek and the area surrounding Juneau International Airport. Candidates for a District 1 seat are required to live within the district, where roughly half of Juneau’s total population resides, but all Assemblymembers are elected areawide.
Jones, who ran unsuccessfully for the areawide Assembly seat now occupied by Assemblymember Carlton Smith last year, is a fixture in the audience at Assembly meetings and a visible player in Juneau politics. He was one of the most prominent local backers of Ballot Measure 2, to create a coastal management program, which failed in last month’s statewide primary election.
“I think I bring a lot of experience dealing with multiple issues, dealing with multiple constituencies on the same issue,” said Jones. “I think that I have learned over my many years to listen, to try to understand both sides of an argument, both sides of a discussion, to truly get to the heart of what some of the issues are in people’s minds. And I think that’s what the Assembly needs at a time when there’s lots of contentious issues, potentially.”
Nowlin, by contrast, is a political newcomer running his first campaign. He said he is enjoying campaigning and meeting voters. In a more unusual avenue for reaching out to the Juneau public, he is also a frequent participant in the reader comments sections for Juneau Empire articles concerning him.
“At first it was a little bit intimidating, but that’s passed, and I’ve just really enjoyed talking with the people,” said Nowlin of the campaign trail. “I think as Assemblymembers, we all need to know what they’re thinking. As a community, we can make Juneau better together.”