Assembly candidates swap views on issues

Johnson, Reiger speak at Chamber

Posted: Monday, September 10, 2001

Jeannie Johnson highlighted her skills as a mediator and negotiator as Tony Reiger spoke of building bridges and consensus at a Juneau Chamber of Commerce candidate forum Friday.

Both are candidates for the Assembly District 1 seat that will be vacated by incumbent Cathy Mu-oz. The election is Oct. 2.

Johnson, a real estate broker, pilot and member of the Juneau Airport Board, said she is eager to keep the business balance on the Assembly.

"I've always been a mediator, negotiator, someone who brings people together," she said.

Reiger, a former teacher and administrator who works at Rayco Sales, said he is interested in building bridges within the community, to Southeast Alaska communities and to the rest of the state.

"We seem to have this idea that if you're not 100 percent for me, you must be 100 against me. We need to move past that and we must find better ways of building consensus," he said.

Both candidates said they support Mayor Sally Smith's request to the state to complete an environmental impact statement studying transportation access to Juneau. A road to Skagway is one alternative in the preliminary plan. Both candidates said they support improved access in general, including a road, ferry service and airport improvements.

Both also supported updates and monitoring of the city's Area Wide Transportation Plan and agreed with the way revenue from Juneau's cruise ship passenger fee has been spent.

The two candidates were asked whether they believe there is trend in projects becoming delayed or stalled by the city. The golf course, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries research center and a new valley high school were listed as examples.

"I do believe there's a bottleneck there," Reiger said. "We need to get on with all of these projects, find the problem and expedite them."

Johnson said it was easy to point fingers, but the city needs to support the local economy.

"I do believe there's a trend and people need to reverse the trend," she said. "It's easy to stand on the outside and say something isn't happening."

Both candidates said they supported an expansion of the runway safety area at the Juneau Airport.

"An extension of the safety area is very important not only for passengers and citizens, but the economy for years to come," Johnson said.

Johnson said she'd like to see a better balance between Juneau residents and wildlife, with an emphasis on public safety.

Reiger, a hunter and a member of the Mendenhall Refuge Citizens Advisory Group, said he understands anguish over the airport issue, but said the community needs to address the potential of bird strikes, with public safety as a top priority.

"I'd hate to see the community stampeded or pushed by the outside," he said, referring to agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration.

Both candidates said they supported an increase in the number of helicopter landings on the Juneau Icefield.

Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.



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