Juneau’s new lobbyist for the upcoming legislative session knows his way around the Capitol, and he knows the people inside.
That’s why the Assembly voted 6-3 to hire Kevin Jardell after interviewing five finalists Saturday, Mayor Merrill Sanford said Tuesday.
“Different people have certain allegiances and trust with people,” Sanford said. “Those are things we want to pull out of Kevin’s past to benefit us.”
His contract is for $55,000 per year, but the length of the contract has not been decided. Sanford, Jardell and the city manager will meet to settle on a contract that will then have to be approved by the Assembly. Any subsequent contract renewals will also have to be approved by the Assembly.
Jardell’s past state experiences include working as the legislative director for the Office of the Governor from 2004 to 2006; serving as the deputy commissioner for the Department of Administration from 2003 to 2004; and acting as a legislative aide for Rep. Joe Green from 1998 to 2002.
Jardell was working for Green during the representative’s push to move Alaska’s Legislature from Juneau to Anchorage, but he lived in Juneau during that time and is not supportive of a capital move, he said.
“When I accepted a job with an Anchorage legislator it gave us the opportunity to discover Juneau,” Jardell said. “We live here because we love it. It’s a great community and a great place to raise our family. Juneau is the capital city and it is our home.
“I plan for both to stay that way,” he added.
More recently, Jardell lobbied on behalf of property management firm Juneau1 to block House Bill 161 during the 2009 Legislature that would have built a $50 million state office building in Juneau, Assembly member Jesse Kiehl said.
“The Assembly, Juneau’s legislative delegation and the community as a whole backed that building, yet he worked against it,” Kiehl said. “I’m concerned he still has that client.”
That conflict of interest from that issue no longer exists — and would not resurface if another proposal for a new state office building was introduced — and there are no other current conflicts between Juneau1 and the City and Borough of Juneau, Jardell said.
“In the event any conflict with Juneau1 arises in the future, I will remedy that conflict to the satisfaction of the CBJ — including severing ties, if necessary,” he said.
Jardell’s other expected clients for the 2014 Legislative season include the Alaska chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Alaska Geriatric Provider Network, the Alaska State Medical Association, the Alaska Zoo, Catholic Community Services (Southeast Alaska), the ExxonMobil Corporation and the Personal Care Attendants Providers Association.
Jardell owns and operates his own lobbying and government consulting firm based in Juneau.
The 2014 Legislature convenes Jan. 15.