Born in 1952 on an Air Force Base in Texas.
Length of residency in Alaska and Juneau: 36 years and 21 years respectively.
Education: Masters of Natural Resource Management, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Bachelors of Arts in Biology, Drake University.
Occupation: Currently retired from State of Alaska; writer
Family: My husband, Bill Hanson, and I have two adult children, Erin and Rion. They both live in Juneau.
Community Service: When I lived in Ketchikan, I served on their Borough Assembly. I currently volunteer for Hospice, the Juneau Commission on Sustainability (chair) and Juneau Jazz and Classics. For the last several years I’ve been a columnist for the Juneau Empire. I recently was the Site Coordinator for the Community in Schools program at Dzantik’I Heeni Middle School.
Other Experience: Former Executive Director of United Fishermen of Alaska and Southeast Alaska Seiners. Business experience includes seafood marketing and processing as well as owning and operating a B & B. Over 22 years of experience in fisheries, coastal and energy policy.
1. What is your highest priority for the CBJ to accomplish during your term in office? Explain why this is a priority and what you will do to facilitate this.
My highest priority is jobs and affordable housing. Both are needed for a vibrant community. To facilitate jobs, I’d start by working to bring federal Alaska management jobs from the Lower 48 – like some of the 200 jobs located in Seattle at NOAA. At least half of those jobs should be at the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute here in Juneau. I’d also work to build the marine services industrial base and look for other opportunities to diversify Juneau’s economy. In regards to affordable housing, I support the city’s ongoing efforts to adjust zoning downtown and along the public transit corridors to allow for high housing density. And I support deferring property tax increases related to subdividing and developing lots.
2. What should the Assembly do to increase voter registration, voter turnout and citizen participation in local government?
The Assembly could explore the option to vote by mail. We could create a trial period – 2 to 3 election cycles – to see if vote by mail increases voter engagement. If it does, then the Assembly would have the option to continue it. On a personal level, I am encouraged by the civic mindset of the younger generation and would reach out to them to become more involved in local government.
3. What responsibility does the Assembly have to address the problem of drug and alcohol abuse issues in Juneau? Please explain.
The City and Borough of Juneau is part of the public safety network for those with addictions. Through the Juneau Recovery Hospital and our treatment and mental health nonprofits, Juneau is helping people get back on their feet. The Assembly has the responsibility to meet the challenge of maintaining funding for these essential programs.
4. What steps should the Assembly take to strengthen local economic diversity and stabilize the local population?
First, the population of Juneau has been a little too stable. We could use a little more sustainable growth. In addition to those jobs mentioned in Question 1, the Assembly could do more to attract new businesses and entrepreneurs looking for a good quality of life in a thriving community. In this regard, the University can be a real economic driver. We also have more commercial fishermen and two of the best and most innovative processing companies in Southeast. These are some of the strengths the Assembly and the community have to build upon. Given’s Juneau’s incredible arts and music program, I welcome the opportunity to more aggressively market Juneau as an art’s center.
5. What do you consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of reopening the AJ Mine?
The advantages of reopening the AJ Mine are 1) more mining jobs 2) more mining industry that can take advantage of the University’s training center and growing support services located here in Juneau and 3) a means to monetize city assets for future revenues. The primary disadvantages are 1) risks to Juneau’s drinking water both from a quality and supply standpoint, 2) congestion to an already crowded area essential to the cruise ship industry, and 3) noise and physical disturbance associated with milling and crushing. Since the days of an operating AJ Mine, the community of Juneau, including a whole new renewable industry, has grown to surround the site; making water safety and minimizing disturbance to tourism and neighborhoods paramount concerns.
6. What measures should the Assembly take to maintain the availability and safety of Juneau’s water supply?
The AJ Mine Advisory Committee made three specific recommendations to protect the availability and safety of Juneau’s water supply, regardless (emphasis added) of whether the mine is opened. I would seek to implement these recommendations – drainage tunnel renovation, increase public awareness, and comprehensively analyze other potential water supplies. Additionally, the City should look to develop a filtration system for Salmon Creek as a backup for Gold Creek Basin.
7. What further steps should the Assembly take to address housing issues in the Juneau area?
According to the Juneau Economic Development Council, the number of housing units permitted in 2013 is twice the number permitted in 2012 and the average rent has declined ever so slightly. This shows that the Assembly is moving in the right direction of re-zoning and tax deferrals. As such, it is important to stay the course and let developers know they will continue to have a partner in the CBJ Assembly. An additional step I would explore is considering turning the tax deferrals on high density housing into rebates at the time of closing.