Garrett to step down

Assembly member moving to Arizona

Posted: Monday, June 19, 2000

Opportunity is taking Tom Garrett out of Juneau.

After seven years on the Juneau Assembly, Garrett will be leaving his seat and his town in the middle of next month. He said today his work is leading him out of the rain forest and into the Arizona desert.

``I got a great career opportunity in Phoenix,'' Garrett, 40, said. ``I'm going to work an advertising job.''

The job, he said, will be heading an interactive services division for a company called Moses Anshell. He's been doing contract work for the company for a while now, he said.

Garrett won another three-year term as an area-wide assembly member during last fall's city election.

He's been a Juneau resident since 1989, and has lived in Alaska since 1966.

By July 15 or so, he said, he and his fiancee will make the move south.

Garrett has had his share of controversy on the assembly. He was seen as a tourism promoter by some political opponents, and as a good leader by others.

Greg O'Claray, who pushed for a city head tax on Juneau tourists, said he'll be sorry to see Garrett leave. Garrett, he said, may have been on the opposite side of him on a lot of issues that came before the nine-member assembly, but there's nothing wrong with that.

``Tourism needs to have an advocate too,'' O'Claray said. ``We disagreed with Tom on issues, but he could count to five. He knew how to get an issue through the assembly.''

Juneau Mayor Dennis Egan said the assembly will need to decide what to do about the soon-to-be-vacant seat. Garrett's last meeting will be July 10.

``Hopefully, we'll appoint someone to fill his spot until the October election,'' Egan said.

As chairman of the assembly's Policy and Planning Committee, Garrett was in a position to get a lot of flak, Egan said.

``He was controversial,'' he said. ``But I don't care who is in there, it would be controversial.''

Garrett said he was pleased with the way the assembly has addressed domestic violence and efforts to develop a transportation plan for Juneau, though there's more he'd like to do.

``There are always things that you don't get finished,'' he said. Given the ever-evolving nature of the job, he said, ``there is no time when you can say everything is done.''

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