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 dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

More in News

Heather Best (in water), a USGS hydrologist, prepares to toss a road-grader blade with a river-measuring device attached into the Yukon River near Eagle, Alaska. USGS hydrologic technician Liz Richards watches for icebergs. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Wading into the icy Yukon River for science

EAGLE, ALASKA — Snow geese flew in a ragged V overhead, rasping… Continue reading

Public defender Nicolas Ambrose gestures during a trial centered around a 2019 stabbing May 19, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Prosecution reconstructs events leading to fatal stabbing

Jurors watched multiple angles of the events leading and following the stabbing.

A sign marks the location of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Tourist dies near Mendenhall Glacier

The death is not considered suspicious.

Zuill Bailey performs a cello concert during a music cruise in Auke Bay on Saturday afternoon. (Courtesy Photo)
All that jazz returns to Juneau

Another ‘Classics’ in the books.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, May 20, 2022

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

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, May 19, 2022

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

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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

Teaser
Judge orders board adopt interim redistricting map

The decision comes in a second round of redistricting challenges.

Smoke and steam rise from a coal processing plant in Hejin in central China’s Shanxi Province on Nov. 28, 2019. A study released on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, blames pollution of all types for 9 million deaths a year globally, with the death toll attributed to dirty air from cars, trucks and industry rising 55% since 2000. (AP Photo / Sam McNeil File)
Study finds global pollution kills 9 million people a year, study finds

Overall pollution deaths in 2019 were about the same as 2015, according to the study.

Most Read