J. Johnson wins District 1 seat 3-2

Posted: Wednesday, October 03, 2001

Real estate broker and Juneau Airport Board member Jeannie Johnson said she is pleased with the results of her District 1 Assembly win Tuesday, but would have liked a bigger turnout.

According to unofficial results, Johnson had 60 percent of the tally in the District 1 race with 3,192 votes. Tony Reiger, a retired teacher and Rayco Sales clerk, had 2,031 votes and 38 percent of the total.

Turnout in Tuesday's election was about 25 percent.

Johnson, who will fill a seat held by Cathy Mu-oz, said she already has started lobbying friends and business associates in the rest of the state against a capital move and expects to continue on a bigger scale on the Assembly. On another issue, she said she hopes the city can put another public rest room downtown before the start of next year's cruise ship season.

"I said during my campaign that I was a listener and I still am. I want people to call and talk to me about anything they think is important," she said.

She said the Assembly is losing experience with the departure of Assembly members Mu-oz and John MacKinnon and expects she will need time to come to speed on city issues.

Mayor Sally Smith said Tuesday the Assembly will have a new face if for no other reason that it will have a new Finance Committee chairperson, a seat now held by Mu-oz, and deputy mayor, a seat held by MacKinnon. Smith has asked current Assembly members for input on committee assignments and expects to make appointments at the Assembly's next regular meeting.

Johnson said she considers Reiger a new friend and enjoyed working with him. And Reiger echoed the sentiment.

"A lot of people felt there wasn't too much of a difference between Jeannie and I on a variety of issues so I think it was really style and how we go about things that probably made people decide for her and not for me. I pulled no punches. I come straight on on issues and with people," he said.

Reiger said airport safety and wastewater treatment will continue to be concerns, but he doubts he will run for office again.

"I know it was a wonderful learning experience for me. I'm disappointed, but I've always respected the voters," he said.

Voter turnout, about 25 percent of registered voters overall, ranged from a low of 12 percent at Switzer Creek to a high of 32 percent at Juneau No. 2 downtown.

"I think everybody would have liked to see a bigger turnout, but that's it," Johnson said. "I think that because there were no burning issues on the ballot, even though the split of the bond was a very important issue for the schools, it obviously wasn't a contentious issue to bring people out to vote."

Turnout in last fall's city election was 49.1 percent, according to final results. That election included a contested mayor's race and six ballot measures. Turnout in the 1999 city election was 36 percent.

"It's very low, very disappointing," City Clerk Laurie Sica said of this year's turnout. She said she hoped patriotic sentiment following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would have done more to draw people to the polls.

A city board will review and count the remaining absentee and questioned ballots at 5 p.m. Friday at Assembly chambers. The canvass review board meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Assembly chambers to review and certify the results of the election.

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