Saralyn Tabachnick has announced she is running for mayor of Juneau. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Saralyn Tabachnick has announced she is running for mayor of Juneau. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

AWARE executive director announces run for mayor

The executive director of the Juneau domestic violence shelter, Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies (AWARE), is running for mayor.

Saralyn Tabachnick made the announcement via an emailed statement to local media outlets Thursday morning.

She said her decades-long experience handling public safety and social justice initiatives has given her a vision on how a successful community can run.

“I see how different agencies and systems can work together to help bring peace to families when there’s a path forward and a common goal,” she said in the prepared statement. “I’m excited to begin using my talents and teambuilding skills as Juneau’s Mayor to address the challenges the City and Borough faces — working with others, inside and outside of government, to help move our community forward to greater unity, health and vibrancy.”

Current Mayor Ken Koelsch, who was elected in 2016 after the death of Greg Fisk, is up for re-election. Koelsch has not officially said whether he is seeking re-election. Tabachnick is the first candidate to file for the mayoral election.

This October, Juneau voters will elect a mayor, two Assembly members and three School Board members. The official filing period to run for CBJ mayor and Assembly opens Aug. 3 and closes Aug. 13. The city municipal election is Oct. 2.

In her release, Tabachnick, a 30-year Juneau resident, said the only way to advance in Juneau as the capital city is to no longer look at the area as a distant place, separated from others.

“We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth,” Tabachnick said. “In a technological era that is opening up new opportunities every day, it is no longer relevant to think of our city as remote or isolated. Technology can positively affect our economy.”

Tabachnick said she believes achieving these goals can happen by building a stronger sense of local unity.

“We may not all share the same history on this land, but we share the same future,” Tabachnick said. “I believe that, under a new kind of leadership, we can work together to build a sustainable economy strong enough to meet the needs of all residents. As one unified community, there will be no limit to what we can accomplish.”

In a phone interview with the Empire Thursday, Tabchnick said become a unified community starts by giving everyone a voice.

“It is about wanting to have a city where everyone has a seat at the table and where all voices are welcome and included,” Tabachnick said. “It is sharing ideas and working with others in government and nongovernmnet agencies.

On the issue of the Juneau Access, Tabachnick said it does fall into her unity plan.

“I am on the middle of the road on the Juneau Access Road,” Tabachnick said. “I think there are cases for it and against it. I think it divides people and divides the community and I really want to focus on things that unite us.”

She also said bringing more people into Juneau and keeping those who already live here are also her goals. Tabachnick said the quality of life people can have in Juneau could draw more people.

“I think we have a lot to offer,” Tabachnick said. “We need to invite and encourage more people to move to Juneau.”

• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at or call at 523-2265. Follow him on Twitter at @GTPhilson.

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