Juneau mayor to run again

Botelho says he will work toward building a new capitol if re-elected

Posted: Friday, July 14, 2006

Mayor Bruce Botelho announced Thursday he will seek re-election in the October municipal election.

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"There are a lot of major issues in front of the Assembly today, and issues I expect to be in front of the Assembly, that I would like to be part of," he said.

Botelho said he filed campaign disclosure paperwork with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on Thursday. Filing for Juneau Assembly and School Board seats opens at 8 a.m. on Aug. 4. The last day to file is Aug. 14.

Botelho, who was elected to the office in 2003, served on the Assembly from 1983 to 1986, and as mayor for the first time from 1988 to 1991. Gov. Walter Hickel appointed Botelho as the attorney general in 1994, an office he held until 2002.

"I enjoy the challenges of mayor," he said. "I think this is a great Assembly to work with. It's very collaborative."

Botelho also has served on the Alaska Permanent Fund Board of Trustees, the Alaska Resources Commission, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council and the Juneau Human Rights Commission.

The mayor said he would continue to work on the construction of a new capitol if he is re-elected.

"One of the biggest challenges was trying to move for a new state capitol, something I believe fervently in," he said.

Dick Knapp, who ran against Botelho in the 2003 municipal election, said he still has the same reservations about a new capitol. Knapp said he shares the desire for a new capitol building, but not at the expense of other projects.

"I really feel that as long as we continue to pursue that goal at the expense of the state and at the same time turn down projects like the access road out of Juneau, I really think we open ourselves up to more capital-move initiatives from the rest of the state," he said.

Knapp said he is a friend of Botelho and they just had differing views and honest disagreements as candidates. He did not comment on what he would have done differently if he were elected mayor.

"It's always very easy when you're on the outside to second-guess," Knapp said. "I think he campaigned on various things and he's done pretty much what he's said in terms of the capitol."

Botelho said there have been some big issues during this term and more big issues in the future.

"Looking back over the last 212 years, some of the markers that come to mind are the downtown waterfront plan and seeing that successfully enacted," he said. "We're in the beginning steps of seeing it implemented. The clean air ordinance was another very challenging issue that we were able to reach an agreement on."

District 2 Assembly Member Daniel Peterson, who also was elected in 2003, said Botelho is an effective leader with lots of experience.

"He's a very strong leader," he said. "He manages a meeting very well. He keeps everything moving smoothly."

Peterson said Botelho leads with the interests of the community in mind.

"He shows a lot of good vision and leadership for the city," he said.

Botelho said there are a number of topics facing the future of the city that he looks forward to addressing if elected.

"The North Douglas crossing is a continuing issue," he said. "We're beginning to cue it up and it is something that I look to put energy into the second term."

Botelho said affordable housing, airport expansion, and water and sewer expansion are issues that likely will be in front of the Assembly in the coming months and years. He said waste management continues to be a major issue in the community, and he would like to see communitywide curbside recycling in the future.

"I think a skill that I bring is good management, and problem solving skills," he said.

The District 1 Assembly seat held by David Stone and the District 2 seat held by Peterson both expire in October. Peterson has not announced his intentions. A message left for Stone was not returned as of press time.

As of Thursday evening, two people were listed on the state Web site as filing with APOC for the municipal election. Sara Chambers has announced she will run for the District 2 seat. Mara Early, who ran for the areawide Assembly seat in 2005, also has filed with APOC.

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