Mayor Beth Weldon flips through an Assembly meeting agenda to give a glimpse at the workload potential candidates for the upcoming election can expect if elected into local office. Weldon was joined by Kristin Bartlett, chief of staff for the Juneau School District (left), Juneau School Board President Deedie Sorenson (middle right) and Mila Cosgrove, former deputy city manager (right), at the City and Borough of Juneau’s annual “How To Run For Local Office” workshop Saturday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Mayor Beth Weldon flips through an Assembly meeting agenda to give a glimpse at the workload potential candidates for the upcoming election can expect if elected into local office. Weldon was joined by Kristin Bartlett, chief of staff for the Juneau School District (left), Juneau School Board President Deedie Sorenson (middle right) and Mila Cosgrove, former deputy city manager (right), at the City and Borough of Juneau’s annual “How To Run For Local Office” workshop Saturday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

City holds workshop to help residents learn the ropes of running for local office

Assembly and school board members offer advice as filing period for local races nears.

After last year’s municipal election featured no contested candidate races for three City and Borough of Juneau Assembly seats, Mayor Beth Weldon said she’s hoping to see more action this time around as the filing period is fast approaching for this year’s election on Oct. 3.

“I hope to see some more candidates run — it’s nice for people to have choices,” Weldon said.

On Saturday the Assembly chambers at City Hall downtown was filled with more than 30 residents including current, former and — hopefully — future local elected officials who gathered to partake in the city’s 8th annual “How To Run For Local Office” workshop.

Participants at the City and Borough of Juneau’s annual “How To Run For Local Office” workshop Saturday listen to Mayor Beth Weldon and other panelists as they share advice and words of wisdom about their experience running for office in Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Participants at the City and Borough of Juneau’s annual “How To Run For Local Office” workshop Saturday listen to Mayor Beth Weldon and other panelists as they share advice and words of wisdom about their experience running for office in Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The workshop featured a panel of officials including current and former mayors, Assembly members, Juneau School District Board of Education members and presidents who, throughout the multi-hour event, shared their lessons learned and words of wisdom on what it’s really like to be a decision-maker for the city.

During this municipal election, voters will decide on who will fill three seats of the nine-person Assembly as the positions filled by current members Maria Gladziszewski (areawide), Alicia Hughes-Skandijs (District 1) and Christine Woll (District 2) are up for the taking.

The areawide seat means the Assembly member may live anywhere in the borough, while District 1 means the member must reside in either Douglas, Thane, the downtown area, Lemon Creek, or the Mendenhall Valley south of Egan Drive and east of the Mendenhall River (near the airport). District 2 includes the rest of the Mendenhall Valley, Auke Bay and out-the-road.

Of the three current members, Hughes-Skandijs and Woll can run for reelection if they choose since both are eligible for two additional three-year terms after their terms expire this October. However, Gladziszewski will term out of her position come October after serving three, three-year terms — the maximum allowed by the city.

The mayoral race will not occur in this election.

Along with the positions for Assembly opening up, voters will also be asked to choose two seats opening on the district’s school board, currently occupied by Brian Holst and Martin Stepetin Sr.

Unlike the Assembly, there is no term limit for school board positions, meaning both are able to run for reelection if desired.

Though the room was filled with more than 30 people, with more than five people indicating interest in running for Assembly and one person for school board, voters won’t know for sure who is running until the filing period for local candidates which opens Friday, July 14, and closes Monday, July 24.

During the workshop, participants were given the basic framework of what they should expect if they were to become elected officials, along with the 411 on running a successful campaign, and how to abide by election rules and requirements.

Beyond common-sense advice such as attending Assembly or school board meetings, listening to voters and becoming well-educated on local issues, panel members were not hesitant to make sure potential candidates knew just what they’d be getting into.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Mila Cosgrove, former deputy city manager whose comment was met with a laugh from the participants. “There is a lot of information and on complex issues with tentacles that touch many different things.”

Another panelist, current board president Deedie Sorensen, agreed and said as a board member often has to make difficult decisions on things that are out of their control. However, despite the challenges that come with the positions, Sorensen said being on the board has given her the opportunity to be a “lifelong learner.”

Beyond candidates for the open Assembly and school board seats, other things that may appear on the ballot like propositions are still up in the air. Next month the Assembly is expected to vote on whether to put a $27 million bond for a new City Hall project on the ballot, and other potential propositions may surface in the coming weeks.

[Voters could see proposal for a new City Hall back on the ballot this fall]

For residents interested in running for local office, but unable to attend the meeting, the informational packet included at the meeting can be found on the city website or at https://juneau.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/2023_HtRfLOToolkit_Full.pdf

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 6

Here’s what to expect this week.

Residents of Strasbaugh Apartments on Gastineau Avenue and others in the neighborhood wait outside a sealed-off area Sunday morning after a landslide triggered by heavy rain hit the building. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Landslide triggered by heavy rain damages apartment building on Gastineau Avenue

Officials close street as multiple mudslides reported; up to 4” more rain forecast by Monday night.

Shelley McNurney (right) and Tami Hesseltine examine a muticolor storage shelf in the gym of the former Floyd Dryden Middle School on Saturday, where surplus items from the school were being sold to residents and given away to nonprofit entities. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
No more pencils, no more bookshelves: Floyd Dryden works to clear out surplus items large and small

Furniture, microscopes, pianos among gymful of items being given away or sold by shut-down school.

Former President Donald Trump is surrounded by Secret Service agents at a campaign rally in Butler, Pa, on Saturday. Trump was rushed off stage at rally after sounds like shots; the former president was escorted into his motorcade at his rally in Butler, Pa., a rural town about an hour north of Pittsburgh. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Trump rally shooting investigated as assassination attempt; gunman identified

One rally attendee and the shooter dead, two other spectators critically injured.

Looking like a gray turtle, an automated mower cuts grass in front of Thunder Mountain Middle School with boxes stacked in a classroom window beyond. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
Random adventures of robo-mowers…now performing again this summer at Juneau’s schools

Four pillow-sized bots resembling turtles with tiny razor-sharp blades provide class for the grass.

Disney Williams (right) orders coffee from Lorelai Bingham from the Flying Squirrel coffee stand at Juneau International Airport on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
New coffee stand at airport stirs up heated dispute about having proper authorization to operate

Fans of Flying Squirrel Espresso praise location, hours; officials say FAA violations could be costly.

Nano Brooks and Emily Mesch file for candidacy on Friday at the City and Borough of Juneau Municipal Clerk’s office in City Hall. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
City and Borough of Juneau regular municipal election candidate filing period opens

So far, most vie for Assembly District 2 seat — mayor, Board of Education, and District 1 also open.

Killah Priest performs at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center in December 2019. (Photo courtesy of Lance Mitchell)
Killah Priest sets new record with Alaskan artists on ‘Killah Borealis’

Wu-Tang Clan rapper seeks to lift Alaskan voices and culture in his return performance to Juneau

Most Read