McConnochie sets sights on areawide assembly seat

Realtor running against Patty Zimmerman in city race

Posted: Tuesday, August 01, 2000

Real estate consultant PeggyAnn McConnochie today announced her intention to run for the Juneau Assembly areawide seat left vacant by Tom Garrett.

McConnochie declared her intent to run two weeks ago but had not identified which seat she was aiming for.

Garrett resigned his seat July 10 and has since moved to Arizona. Whoever wins the areawide race would serve out the last two years of Garrett's three-year term.

The other declared candidate for the areawide seat is Juneau resident Patty Zimmerman, who lost to Garrett in last fall's three-way race.

Parking, transportation and tourism problems need to be addressed, McConnochie said.

``We have a difficult parking problem all over the city,'' she said. ``And with all the pedestrians, the downtown area is particularly difficult to get around in.''

Juneau residents need to devise local solutions to unique problems, she said, and not just rely on ``experts from the big cities.''

The limited amount of Juneau roadways contributes to transportation problems, she said, and although the city has done some planning for residential living and multifamily units, ``we forgot to plan for how we get to and from'' different areas of the city.

McConnochie cited traffic congestion on the Douglas Bridge as one of the city's prime transportation problems.

With respect to tourism, ``We're lucky so many people want to come up,'' she said. ``But it's causing some uncomfortable problems -- in transportation, parking and housing.''

The question is whether Juneau residents want ``more government regulation or a more cooperatively-based solution to problems,'' McConnochie said. ``My vote is for cooperation.''

McConnochie ran for the other assembly areawide seat and lost to incumbent Jim Powell in 1998. That race featured Powell's record-breaking expenditure for a Juneau assembly seat -- $42,000.

McConnochie spent $25,000 on that campaign and said she plans to spend the same amount this time around.

McConnochie owns Alaska Coast Homes, a real estate consulting firm, and is a past president of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and the Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club. She also chaired the housing subcommittee of the Alaska Committee.

Zimmerman, McConnochie's only opponent thus far, has also declared her intention to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski in 2004, a prospect she said makes it essential that she win an election beforehand. Zimmerman, a marketing consultant, is a Democrat.

Other declared city candidates include Mark Farmer -- the only candidate for mayor to have filed a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission so far --- and assembly District 1 incumbent Ken Koelsch.

Candidates who want to be on the city's Oct. 3 ballot must file with the city clerk between Aug. 14 and Aug. 24. Those raising and spending funds must inform the public offices commission first.

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