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Key changes in the makeup of the Assembly are on the horizon. Assembly seats held by Jim Powell, Cathy Munoz and John MacKinnon are up for grabs in the fall election. Jim Powell has decided to run for a third term.
The most notable changes will be the exit of District 2 Assemblyman and Deputy Mayor John MacKinnon and Juneau Assembly's Finance Committee Chair Cathy Munoz, representing District 1.
If you turned to the definition of the ideal public servant in the dictionary, you would find along side a picture of John MacKinnon. Since 1989, John Mac has served with five mayors, 21 different Assembly members, three city managers and two city attorneys. He has served as deputy mayor to three mayors.
And now as the term limit clock closes one long chapter in his service to Juneau, we can only hope it isn't the final chapter.
MacKinnon's ability to move the Assembly's business along is legend. When things get weighed down and aren't going anywhere, MacKinnon can always be counted on to take the right action.
MacKinnon's sense of humor, fairness, genial nature and impeccable judgment has quietly influenced the course of this community in a very big way over the years.
A gifted parliamentarian, John has plied his good humor to deal with contentious issues in a respectful and consensus-building way. Though Assembly members frequently find themselves on the opposing side of MacKinnon's view, they most often find it difficult to impugn his reasoning.
Mayor Smith has relied heavily on MacKinnon's counsel. He will be sorely missed.
Another potential hit to the Assembly may come from the loss of Cathy Munoz. As of this writing, Cathy has not made up her mind on running for re-election. Like John, Cathy has given unselfishly of a great deal of her time and energy to the good of our community.
She possesses many strengths. She comes to meetings prepared, and she is cautious and deliberate in her decision-making. She, too, is skilled at building consensus and has proven to be very effective in moving things forward.
As Finance Committee Chair, she has deftly handled the tough job of guiding the committee's work in a careful, productive way generating an excellent budget while saving property owners some money along the way.
She has served two terms on the Assembly and is now grappling with a very tough decision which she will make very soon. Munoz supporters should offer their appreciation and words of support immediately.
Juneau is truly at the crossroads, facing the biggest challenges in its history. The thought of losing 19 years of solid leadership experience in the next election at a time when leadership and experience are critically needed, is most disconcerting. Hopefully, Cathy Munoz will make the right decision and run for a third term and John MacKinnon will return to help lead the city when he regains eligibility.