Christine Woll joined the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly six months ago as the sole new member after the October 2020 municipal elections. She beat out three other candidates to win a three-year term representing District 2.
As she rounds out her first six months of service, the Empire reached out to get her view of the job so far and the path ahead.
The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
How does actual board service differ from your expectations?
I’m amazed at the variety of topics that come across our desk. It feels like there is very little that happens in the city that doesn’t show up on the job in one form or another. It is neat to get a glimpse into things happening in Juneau that weren’t really on my radar before.
What vote are you most proud of and why?
There were several consecutive meetings in the fall where the assembly appropriated funding for the new Glory Hall and social services campus and the (Sealaska Heritage Institute) cultural arts campus. We are not in a climate where we have extra money to throw around, but I’m proud that the assembly unanimously approved those three projects. I think it showcases that we are thinking long-term, investing in projects that will bring long-lasting economic and social benefits to Juneau and not being stymied by our short-term challenges.
Anything you’d do differently?
At the beginning, I was pleased with my ability to pick up and read all the information presented to me on a particular topic and make a logical decision accordingly. I’m starting to realize that that is only one piece of the job. It is a lot more work to try to effectively engage the public, understand their point of view and make sure they feel heard.
What’s the biggest issue facing Juneau now?
I’m worried about our economy over the next year. We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this unprecedented public health crisis. But our businesses, our most vulnerable and the city budget have all been hit hard, and we aren’t out of the woods there, especially as it seems unlikely we will see large cruise ships in 2022.
What are you most looking forward to in the next six months?
I’m looking forward to a fully vaccinated Juneau. I’m looking forward to interacting with the public in public spaces and coming together as a community to celebrate and heal. And I’m excited to participate in my first in-person assembly meeting as an elected official.
Any general thoughts or observations you’d like to share?
This year has been unimaginably tough, but Juneau should be so proud of how they have handled this pandemic. Our health care workers and first responders, our teachers, our business leaders, our city staff, our social service providers – these folks are literally heroes. The whole community stepped it up, wore their masks, supported local businesses, and checked in on their neighbors. There’s been a lot of loss but also a lot of strength.
• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at email@example.com or 907-308-4891.