Michelle Bonnet Hale loves Juneau — even the weather.
Combining that fondness with what she has learned in various jobs, Hale has decided to run for the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly District 2 Valley seat. Hale made the announcement in an email sent to the Empire Wednesday.
“I have worked for the state and private enterprises,” Hale told the Empire Wednesday by phone. “I have always really wanted to serve at the local level and never had the chance to do that.”
The District 2 seat will be vacated by Jerry Nankervis, who is running for a seat in the Alaska Legislature this year. While the official filing period doesn’t open until August, Hale filed a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on Wednesday.
District 1 incumbent Loren Jones filed a letter of intent for his seat in November. Those are the only two open seats up for election this year on the Assembly. Mayor Ken Koelsch’s term also expires this year; no one has filed for mayor yet.
Filing a letter of intent allows a candidate to begin fundraising.
Hale, 56, was born and raised in Juneau and said she had spent all but 17 years of her life in the capital city. She is the great-granddaughter of Petersburg homesteaders and fishermen, and the granddaughter of the chief electrical engineer of Juneau’s Alaska-Juneau Mine. Hale said she believes her skills as a facilitator will make her an asset on the Assembly.
“I have done a lot of work facilitating meetings and getting people to sit down and talk together and see each other’s side,” Hale said. “We have a lot of issues in Juneau that are very polarizing, but they don’t need to be.”
Hale has worked on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, managed a private water lab in Juneau and served as environmental coordinator for the Kensington Mine north of Juneau. Hale is now a local entrepreneur, running a business selling her late father Herb Bonnet’s artwork and art cards.
Tackling tough issues, Hale said, also has encouraged her to run.
“I like people and I like solving problems, even if they are tough,” Hale said.
Hale said with ever-changing issues to deal with, she is focused on how she can face them.
“I am driven by seeing what I can do to help,” Hale said.
She also wants to ensure that Juneau is a place made for all ages.
“It can be a hard place to be old,” Hale said. “I hate seeing my friends leave. Juneau is a great place, but there is always room to make it better. I hope we can make it hard to leave Juneau because it is so good here.”
The official filing period to run for CBJ Assembly opens at 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 3 and closes at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, at 4:30 p.m. All paperwork must be completed and signed/notarized in hand at the Municipal Clerk’s Office at City Hall.
The city municipal election is Oct. 2.
• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 523-2265. Follow him on Twitter at @GTPhilson.