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Candidate profile: Norton Gregory (Assembly Areawide)

Posted: September 17, 2016 - 11:03pm
Norton Gregory  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Norton Gregory

Length of residency in Alaska and Juneau: 17 years in Juneau, lifelong Alaska resident (born in Anchorage, 1979)

Education: Attended the University of Alaska Southeast, business management

Occupation(s): Housing services manager at Tlingit-Haida Reginal Housing Authority

Community service: Juneau Affordable Housing Commission Board Member, and former chair (2012-2014); Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) Board of Directors; Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies (AWARE) Board of Directors; Douglas Island Neighborhood Association Board Member; Juneau Senior Assisted Living Task Force Member.

Other experience: Former member and chair of the Sealaska Heritage Scholarship Committee; Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp 70 member

What steps can the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly take to ensure equal pay for equal work in the private sector in Juneau?

Juneau took a huge step in the right direction to ensure equal pay for equal work in the private sector in Juneau by passing the Equal Rights ordinance Aug. 22. All people in the capital city deserve fair and equitable treatment, not just at work but in all aspects of their lives.

Would you be in favor of developing a comprehensive public health plan for the CBJ? What components of the public’s health should be included? If you would not support such a plan, please explain why.

I am in favor of a public health plan for our community. Plans should describe alternative ways for transportation such as bike routes, ensuring that sidewalks and bike paths are in good condition for those that prefer to walk and run, and should be well lit at night for safety and convenience. The plan should include food, water and land use. We need to ensure that our citizens have access to adequate health care and treatment. Our population is aging, and we need to make sure that we take that into consideration when we plan for the next 20 years. The plan should also address safe, sanitary and habitable housing in our community as well as public safety and security.

What can be done to improve the bus and pedestrian traffic in the downtown area during the tourist season?

We need to ensure that visitors and locals in our communities are using crosswalks when crossing the road. We need to analyze our sidewalks to make sure that they are wide enough to accommodate the growing number of visitors to our community. We should revisit the plan addressing smaller circulator buses that move people around downtown Juneau and the Willoughby District. There needs to be a crosswalk across from A&P to allow people to access the new sea walk from the Willoughby District.

If you had to rank spending priorities for the CBJ, what would be your top two items requiring adequate funding other than public safety? Explain your choices.

It is essential that we maintain our public infrastructure such as our water and sewer systems, and adequately maintain our roads and sidewalks. We need to ensure that our schools are adequately funded.

What measures would you suggest to improve gun safety in the CBJ?

We need to promote and build on existing gun safety programs that already exist in our community. For example, in Juneau we have the Juneau Hunter Education Shooting Complex located at 5670 Montana Creek Road. Courses offered include the National Rifle Association firearms training classes, the National Rifle Association pistol training courses, as well as the advanced pistol and concealed-carry courses. We need to promote safety information relating to safe storage and handling of guns in the home. We need to ensure that all households that have guns are utilizing gun safes and gun locks to keep these weapons out of reach of young children and other people who are not well versed in gun safety.

What do you consider to be a living minimum wage in the Juneau area? What measures could the CBJ take to raise the minimum wage?

A living wage is a wage high enough to maintain a normal standard of living. The 2012 Juneau Housing Needs assessment stated that when compared to Kodiak, Anchorage, and Fairbanks, that Juneau had the highest cost of living. With that said, we need to take measures to build a strong and resilient local economy. We need to keep our focus on affordable workforce housing. Availability and affordability of housing is a constraint on economic growth. If we have increased housing availability and affordable housing that the workforce could afford, we would be a bigger and economically healthier community. A critical aspect of economic development is based on housing in this community. Housing is on the front line of economic activity.

What progress has been made on increasing the availability of affordable housing and what still needs to be done?

I am employed as the housing services manager for Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority. I work to manage and create affordable housing in our community and Southeast. I supported the Housing First project, which will provide affordable housing for Juneau’s most vulnerable population — our homeless people. This project is currently being built adjacent to my office. I have also been a member of the CBJ Affordable Housing Commission (AHC) for the last six years. The AHC’s focus is on developing more affordable housing in Juneau. I provided testimony and support to the Alaska Legislature for HB 146, which abated property tax for newly subdivided property for up to five years.

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