Six candidates vie for seats on Assembly

Sybil Davis, Jeff Bush join race on last day

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2004

On the last day of filing for the October Assembly election, two people declared their bids.

Sybil Davis, who's stepping down as executive director of Juneau Arts and Humanities Council this fall, will run against Planning Commissioner Johan Dybdahl for an area-wide seat. The seat is currently held by Jim Powell, who is termed out.

Jeff Bush, executive director of Alaska Public Entity Insurance, will compete against incumbent Jeannie Johnson in District 1.

Another incumbent, Randy Wanamaker, will face challenges from James Reid, an administrator at Moose Lodge, in District 2.

Davis, 57, is running for public office for the first time.

"A number of friends I respect suggested I consider it," Davis said. "The aspects of the community I have more passion about are education, enrichment of students' lives and art."

Davis has worked in many fields. She was a postal carrier, a school teacher, a dance teacher, a legal secretary and a cannery worker. "I know what it means to work hard, and I am able to work well with a wide variety of people," she said.

Dybdahl, 57, is president of Point Sophia Development. Before that, he worked for Sealaska Corp., Southeast's regional Native corporation, for 14 years. He has been a city planning commissioner for 15 years.

"To let our children enjoy the same community we have now, we have to create yearlong jobs for them and encourage businesses," Dybdahl said. "One of the things I would like to push is the construction of the second Gastineau Channel crossing."

District 1 candidate Bush said education will be his focus. He ran for the Assembly in 1993 but failed.

"I am a strong supporter of a second high school," said Bush, who served on the Juneau School Board between 1994 and 2000.

Assembly member Johnson has been a real estate broker for 28 years. She is vice chair of the city's Public Works and Facilities Committee, chair of the Assembly Finance Committee and chair of the Waterfront Committee. She also serves as the Assembly's liaison to the Juneau Airport Board.

"I will continue my work of land availability for affordable housing, property tax relief, adoption of the city's long-range waterfront plan and anchoring the capital in Juneau," said Johnson, 57.

A geologist and an environmental planner, Wanamaker said he wants to make Juneau affordable for families and retirees to stay.

"I am running for a number of things - housing opportunities, quality of education and a stable economy," said Wanamaker, 60.

Reid, who never ran for public office before, said if elected he wants to centralize the city government, encourage business and create housing opportunities for first-time home buyers.

"I want the city to free up some of its properties, subdivide them and sell to first-time homeowners at a reduced rate," said Reid, 55. "The city should also move all its departments to one central location so they can conduct business more efficiently."

• I-Chun Che can be reached at

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