Assembly incumbents to run for re-election

Posted: Friday, July 13, 2007

The three Juneau Assembly incumbents whose seats expire this October said, as of now, they intend to seek re-election.

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District 1 Assembly member Jeff Bush and District 2 Assembly member Randy Wanamaker have both announced their intent to seek another term, while areawide Assembly member Johan Dybdahl said he is leaning that way.

The period to file with the city for public office runs from Aug. 3 to 13. Those seeking an elected position must be a registered voter, live within the district they choose to represent at the time they file, and file a petition with 25 signatures within the city's filing period.

Wanamaker, who is serving his second term on the Assembly, said he has already begun fundraising efforts and will begin to form a steering committee.

He said his top three issues are fighting "capital creep," protecting government jobs in Juneau and growing new jobs to ensure a diversified economy and work force.

"If we keep losing jobs and our economy keeps shrinking, as is currently happening, then our property values are going to continue the decline they have started," Wanamaker said.

He is also interested in helping find a solution for the Kensington Mine, which is in limbo after its developer lost a legal challenge over its tailings disposal plan; dealing with the expanding landfill; and proceeding with work on a second crossing of Gastineau Channel.

"Juneau's economic future depends in part on a successful community-accepted second crossing plan," Wanamaker said.

Bush, presently serving his first term on the Assembly, said it takes time to get used to how the governing body works so he hopes to continue the work he's begun.

"It takes a while to get into the budget and understand it and the way the city operates, and also all the various projects around the city," he said. "I now feel pretty comfortable about that and look to be doing more of that in the next three years."

Bush said he is interested in improving the downtown waterfront area and increasing opportunities for recreation. He also strongly supports the construction of a swimming pool in the Mendenhall Valley.

A lot of his re-election strategy will depend on how the campaign "shakes out," he said.

"When it comes to campaigns, they're short and they tend to focus on what the public is interested in the last six weeks before the election," Bush said. "And it's impossible, I think, to predict now what that will be."

Dybdahl said at this point he probably will seek a second three-year term on the Assembly. He said it is important to have at least four like-minded people on the Assembly to get anything accomplished and he thinks they have that chemistry now.

There are a lot of issues important to the community but at the root of all of them is protecting the work force, Dybdahl said.

"My biggest issue is jobs in the community," he said. "We can talk about affordable housing, we can talk about all the other issues, but if our economy doesn't grow, our children can't come back and have jobs and enjoy the same things we enjoy."

Dybdahl said he also supports the opening of the Kensington Mine, building a road out of Juneau and making sure Juneau remains an important economic hub to neighboring communities.

• Eric Morrison can be reached at 523-2269 or eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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