Editor’s Note: Ahead of the Oct. 1 municipal election, the Empire is publishing articles on the candidates running for Assembly and Board of Education seats. The articles will be published today through Friday. The Empire is also partnering with the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization that does not endorse parties nor candidates. Below each article, you’ll find six questions that the League developed. Candidates had a 120-word limit per answer. In cooperation with the Empire and KTOO, the League will hold a candidate forum on Sept. 17 at KTOO from 7-9 p.m. with a meet the candidates’ reception from 6:30 to 7.
When she was elected last year, Carole Triem became the youngest member of the Assembly currently seated, a distinction she’ll likely hold this term as well. Perhaps that’s why she’s looking forward to the future.
“My overarching goal is we look at every decision from a really long-term perspective,” Triem said. “I’d like to make good decisions now that won’t reflect badly in the future.”
Raised in Petersburg, Triem moved to Juneau after getting a postgraduate degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. A state employee working for the Department of Fish and Game, last year was the first time she ran for office, looking to get more involved in how the city operates.
“I studied public policy, so this is obviously the field I’m interested in,” Triem said. “I feel strongly about what we should be doing, and so I put my money where my mouth was.”
One of Triem’s priorities is improving child care accessibility in Juneau. This will improve the lives of young families in Juneau, allowing the city to attract more people here, which keeps the city strong in the years to come, Triem said. Without the infrastructure to support young families, they’ll move elsewhere.
“People have testified ‘I am leaving town because I cannot find or I cannot afford child care,’” Triem said.
Along with the work the Assembly does to support a growing number of elderly residents, Triem is working with other Assembly members to create somewhere good for all Juneau residents to live, young or old.
“I think we’re pulling the right policy levers,” Triem said talking about a decision to buy land in Vintage Park for a future senior living residence. “A senior assisted living facility is not just going to move into Juneau without help from the local government.”
Triem also supports the New Juneau Arts and Culture Center, and will vote for the city to support its construction in the municipal elections. She also believes we need to support education in Juneau however the city can, both at the primary and university level. Supporting University of Alaska Southeast is one of the important ways of getting and keeping young people here to Juneau, she said.
When she’s not working for the state, Triem has a cat named Siri and enjoys eating at In Bocca Al Lupo. All candidates were also required to say which flavor of ice cream they identify as. Triem’s answer? A very confident chocolate.
Candidate Bio (In their own words)
Carole Triem was born and raised in Petersburg and has lived in Juneau since 2014. She has a master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University. She previously worked as a Economic Development Advisor for the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. She is on the board of directors for the Southeast Alaska Land Trust and is currently a member of the Assembly.
Question 1: What qualifications and one personal quality will make you an effective member of the Assembly?
In my first year on the Assembly, I’ve brought my economics background and analytical way of thinking to the table. I have a professional background in economic development, so I know what it takes to keep Juneau thriving.
My economics skills let me scrutinize a budget and think through all of the potential impacts of our spending decisions.
My sense of humor has made working on the Assembly fun. Having an Assembly made up of nine people who respect each other, work well together, and can laugh together, even when making very tough decisions, makes for all-around better decision making.
Question 2: What is the most important community need the Assembly must address?
Our city has been incredibly lucky that past Assemblies have been very careful budgeters. We have budget reserves that can help us out in an emergency (even one created by the Governor).
But our current path is probably not sustainable, especially given cuts to state spending and a potential national recession. Our most important work in the upcoming year will be planning sustainable budgets and going over our s ending and revenue with a careful eye.
Question 3: What is the most significant Assembly accomplishment in the last year?
I’m very proud that the Assembly added sustainability as one of its goals. It’s a very expansive issue that we should be thinking about when we make all of our decisions.
Climate change and its impacts are going to affect our lifestyles (what does an Eaglecrest without snow look like?), our livelihoods (will tourists come if there’s no glacier?), and our wallets (what happens to our electricity prices during a drought?).
Thinking ahead about these issues is going to save the city money and put us in a position to minimize impacts. Naming sustainability as one of the Assembly’s goals gives us a framework to address these issues at the local level.
Question 4: How should CBJ respond to the governor’s budget cuts?
I think it’s vitally important that the Assembly provide strong leadership at a time that is very scary for a lot of Alaskans.
We need to avoid knee-jerk contractions that would make the impacts of the governor’s budgets cuts on our city even worse. A testifier at an Assembly meeting recently said, “When things are difficult, you can’t sit with your hands folded waiting for developments.”
The Assembly needs to examine which necessary services that were provided by the state now need to be supplemented or replaced at the local level.
Question 5: Should the City and Borough of Juneau cap the number of cruise ship passengers? Why or why not? What steps, if any, should CBJ take to mitigate the impacts of cruise ship passengers on Juneau?
There are more efficient ways to address the impact of the increasing number of cruise ship passengers visiting Juneau than a cap.
I also have serious concerns about the equity impacts of such plans — tourism is an important part of our economy and so many Juneau families depend on the dollars those passengers bring to town. We should look at ways to keep this important economic engine going in ways that are consistent with our community’s values.
This should include promoting development of the Subport lot to alleviate congestion on South Franklin Street, working with the Forest Service on the Mendenhall Glacier master plan, and implementing a sales tax for onboard purchases.
Question 6: What can the Assembly do to help alleviate the critical shortage of child care options for Juneau families?
The formation of and recommendations from the childcare committee were a great first step. We’ve decided as a community that education is one of the core functions of our local government and that commitment shouldn’t just begin at age five.
I’m hopeful that the revolving loan program for childcare providers will be successful at unsticking the private market. I would also like to see the Juneau School District maximize and expand their pre-K offerings as their budget allows.
Schedule of candidate profiles
Tuesday: Carole Triem (Assembly Areawide) and Emil Robert Mackey III (School Board)
Wednesday: Wade Bryson (Assembly District 2) and Deedie Sorensen (School Board)
Thursday: Assembly candidate Alicia Hughes-Skandijs (District 1) and school board candidate Martin Stepetin Sr. (School Board)
Friday: Greg Smith (Assembly District 1) and Bonnie Jensen (School Board)
Important election dates
Sept. 16: Early and absentee voting begins
Sept. 24: Last day to receive applications for absentee by-mail ballots in Clerk’s office
Sept. 26: Last day to file “write in” candidacy letter of intent
Sept. 30: Last day to submit application for fax ballot, 5 p.m.
Oct. 1: Election day, polls open 7a.m.-8 p.m.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.