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Mary Becker

Posted: September 13, 2013 - 1:44pm

Date and place of birth: Panama City, FL

Length of residency in Alaska and Juneau: Alaska since 1949; Juneau since 1966

Education: Sitka High School; College of Idaho; University of Alaska Southeast

Occupation(s): Teacher (retired)

Family: Husband Jim, grown children Rob, Carolyn, Kristy, Christine and 7 grandchildren (Luke, Ethan, James, Reid, Madeline, Dori, Bennett)

Community service: Past member of Juneau School Board (nine years; four as President); past President Association of Alaska School Boards; Chair of United Way Board of Directors; Board of Directors Southeast Conference; member of UAS Campus Council, Juneau Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Committee, Rotary, National Education Association, PEO, Juneau Assembly

Other experience: Past state officer of Alaska Retired Educator Association; Past board member of SE AK Health Education Council; Past State Mother Advisor of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls; Past board member of Kids Vote and Poetry Out Loud; AARP, Juneau Haines Reading Association, NLUC Elder

 

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.

One of my priorities is to work toward economic development in our community. We need to insure that our citizens can stay here with the support needed and encourage growth through job opportunities, affordable housing, great schools, and recreation. We need to support our private business, state employees, fishery, mining, and tourism with a business friendly atmosphere. We need to evaluate what is needed to attract and maintain our population and work toward facilitating growth. We need to always look at our city as the State Capital and evaluate and work toward improvements, as needed, that we can provide.

2. What should the Assembly do to increase voter registration, voter turnout, and citizen participation in local government?

The League has taken a leadership role in this area and should continue. Advertising and staffing places for voter registration, researching voting by mail or email and providing ways for the public to learn about issues that are being discussed are all important for both the Assembly and the League to do. We could consider a campaign to show the public how important serving in local government is to our community and encourage more participation.

3. What responsibility does the Assembly have to address the problem of drug and alcohol abuse issues in Juneau? Please explain.

The Assembly does recognize the seriousness of these problems in our community. That is an important first step. The Assembly funds the grants awarded by the Social Services Advisory Committee to our social services agencies. Among others, awards go to agencies that work toward prevention and treatment of abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The Assembly took action to make Juneau a smoke free community. The 1% sales tax extension includes a new child and adolescent mental health facility at BRH. The Juneau Police Department, Bartlett Regional Hospital, Rainforest Recovery Center and our schools are all involved in addressing the problems caused by drugs and alcohol as are many of our social service agencies.

4. What steps should the Assembly take to strengthen local economic diversity and stabilize the local population?

The Assembly has started the process of developing an Economic Plan. The Assembly approved many of the suggestion from the Ad Hoc Housing Committee and they will be discussed in committee and, where needed, presented as Ordinances. We need housing and jobs and the Assembly is working toward solutions to strengthen and stabilize our population. We should support our fishing, timber and mining industries throughout the Region. We need to continue to work toward making our Capital accessible and welcoming. We have upgraded our airport, and our State DOT is adding new ferries. Building the Juneau Access Road is the next necessary step toward improving access and economic growth.

5. What do you consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of reopening the AJ mine?

The mine is an asset of our community and should be researched through a feasibility study. If we want jobs for our young people so they can stay in Juneau and have a more stable economic climate, we need to look at all possible economic drivers. We need to protect our water supply. We have shown that we take necessary steps to protect our environment. This mine could be a step toward protecting our economic growth. Mayor Botelho put together a diverse group to look at under what conditions would we open the mine. We owe it to ourselves to take a thorough look at all aspects of opening the AJ Mine as an avenue for economic development.

6. What measures should the Assembly take to maintain the availability and safety of Juneau’s water supply?

The Assembly has taken steps to develop a water study of our water supply at both Salmon Creek Dam and Gold Creek. The community agreed to put money toward a filtration system for Salmon Creek Dam through the 1% sales tax. Our water is the envy of those who visit and we must protect it. Having a year round supply that will support growth in our population and our use is a goal of the Assembly and CBJ.

7. What further steps should the Assembly take to address housing issues in the Juneau area?

The Assembly authorized a housing study and heard many excellent suggestions for improvement from our building and lending community. These suggestions have been discussed and many are working their way through the Assembly committee agenda. Some have been put into Ordinance and some are still being studied. Conversations with builders show that already there have been improvements. This is a record summer for new construction. We need to continue discussion about assisted living, affordable and low income housing.

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