Third-generation Alaskan and Juneau-transplant Paul Kelly hopes to join the Juneau City Assembly and has recently kicked off his campaign for the seat. He currently serves on the board for Juneau Public Schools. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

Kelly launches campaign for CBJ Assembly

He’s a candidate for the October municipal election

Third-generation Alaskan and Juneau-transplant Paul Kelly hopes to join the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly and has recently kicked off his campaign for the seat.

During this fall’s municipal election, two seats will be open on the assembly. One is being vacated by longtime Assembly member Loren Jones, who is barred from running again due to term limits.

Kelly, who first moved to Juneau as a legislative aide for Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, is currently wrapping up his first term on the Juneau school board, serving as clerk for the body.

Professionally, he works as an analyst/programmer at the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. He’s also pursuing a master of public administration degree at the University of Southeast Alaska.

At a recent interview downtown, Kelly shared the color-coded, hour-by-hour online calendar that helps him keep track of his commitments and lets him stay on track with his hectic schedule. He shared that a quiz he took as part of his graduate studies revealed that he had an “analytical mind,” and the calendar serves as a salient proof point to that finding.

CBJ adopts new fireworks rules

Making public service a priority

Kelly said that public service is vital to him and that he makes it a priority. He said that he’s starting his campaign for the seat early to have more time to reach out to stakeholders.

“The whole reason I got into public service is to take ownership. I have skin in the game,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time growing as a public servant. I care about quite a few issues,” he said.

Kelly said that his time on the school board has been instrumental in his growth.

“The school board was more of a challenge than I expected. That helped develop me as a leader. I learned a lot on the board,” he said.

Kelly said that while he cares deeply about public education, his interest in a broader sphere of topics led him to throw his hat into the ring for the city assembly.

“I like advocating for people,” he said.

Kelly was complimentary of the current assembly members and said that he’s a fan of incremental change.

“My experience with public service is that radical change does not happen quickly, and you don’t want it to,” he said.

Kelly praised the assembly for the city’s response to COVID-19.

“They did a good job balancing freedoms and rights. We can contrast that with how things have gone in Anchorage,” he said.

CBJ authorizes city manager to enter port agreements with cruise lines

But, Kelly said that he does see areas ripe for improvement, such as assisting the city’s unsheltered population and finding additional ways to explore options related to the visitor industry.

But, he’s not in favor of changing the city’s charter to add restrictions on large cruise ships. Currently, petitions are circulating to move a trio of ballot initiatives aimed at taming cruise ship traffic onto the October ballot.

“I will not be signing the petitions, and if they make it to the ballot, I will vote no,” he said. “The conversation needs a finer touch.”

More about Paul

Originally from Anchorage, Kelly said that Juneau suits him because he likes the mountains, outdoor activities and the convenience of a smaller town.

“I like how easy it is to meet people and form connections,” he said.

He graduated from Dimond High in Anchorage in 2003 and from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2016. He has a degree in computer systems engineering and minors in electrical engineering, mathematics, and French.

He said that he loves to hike the Salmon Creek Dam Trail and enjoys dining at Seong’s Sushi Bar for sushi and V’s Cellar Door. When he’s in the mood for ice cream, he pays a visit to Coppa.

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at or 907-308-4891.

More in News

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Officer William Hicks stands with JPD Chief Ed Mercer and Deputy Chief David Campbell during a swearing in ceremony for Hicks on Thursday at the JPD station in Lemon Creek. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
New officer joins JPD’s ranks

The Juneau Police Department welcomed a new officer to its ranks Thursday… Continue reading

These photos show Nova, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and the illegally placed body hold trap, commonly referred to as a Conibear trap, that caught her while walking near Outer Point Trail last week. (Courtesy / Jessica Davis)
Dog narrowly survives rare illegally placed trap in Juneau

State wildlife officials outlined what to do if found in similar situation

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Public defender agency to refuse some cases, citing staffing

ANCHORAGE — A state agency that represents Alaskans who cannot afford their… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police: Gift card scam connected to hoax Fred Meyer threats

This article has been moved in front of the Empire’s paywall. A… Continue reading

This is a concept design drawing that was included in the request for proposal sent out by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities seeking outside engineering and design services to determine whether it’s feasible to build a new ferry terminal facility in Juneau at Cascade Point. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
DOT takes steps toward potential Cascade Point ferry terminal facility

It would accommodate the Tazlina and or Hubbard, shorten trips to Haines and Skagway

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Friday, Feb. 3, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Daniel Winfree gets a standing ovation from the Alaska State Legislature as he enters the House chamber Wednesday to deliver his final State of the Judiciary speech. Winfree is stepping down next Monday when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Chief justice bids lawmakers a fervent farewell

Daniel Winfree, in State of Judiciary days before retirement, warns about mixing politics and courts

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, stands in the well of the House Chambers with other Democrats, including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to hear Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., deliver remarks shortly after becoming the new minority leader on Jan. 6. The speech came after a nearly weeklong stalemate by Republicans in electing a speaker after they won a narrow majority in November’s election. (Screenshot from C-SPAN video feed)
Peltola learning the House party is over

Distractions and inaction replace honeymoon headlines as Alaska’s new rep joins minority.

Most Read