Beth Weldon is pictured in August 2012 after retiring from a 20-plus year career from Capital City Fire/Rescue.

Beth Weldon is pictured in August 2012 after retiring from a 20-plus year career from Capital City Fire/Rescue.

This ‘fourth generation Douglasite’ is running for an Assembly seat

The candidate-filing period for Juneau’s next municipal election won’t be open for another two months, but that hasn’t stopped one resident from announcing an Assembly run.

Former firefighter and Glacier Auto Parts owner Beth Weldon has declared her candidacy for an Assembly seat, but she doesn’t yet know which.

Come October, three seats will be open: one in District 1, another in District 2 and a third area-wide seat. Weldon lives in District 2, which means she can run for the seat in her district — currently held by Jamie Bursell — or the area-wide seat, which Kate Troll holds.

“I am running for either Assembly seat, and Juneau residents can be assured that I bring a community-wide perspective to the position,” Weldon wrote in a press release announcing her candidacy Monday. “Over a lifetime in Juneau, I have lived in Auke Bay, North Douglas, Douglas, and the valley. I know our community inside and out.”

[First female career fire officer Beth Weldon retires after 22 years.]

Which seat she runs for depends largely on who runs for the other seats, she told the Empire in a phone interview Tuesday. She’s not interested in running a contested race if nobody throws in for the other seat, she said.

Troll told the Empire Tuesday that she isn’t sure whether she will run again. Bursell, who was appointed to the Assembly in early February, did not respond to Empire inquiries regrading whether she will run this fall by day’s end.

Weldon has been toying with the idea of running for the past couple years, but she’s been considering it seriously for a couple months. She filed her letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on April 29, allowing her to begin fundraising.

On June 1, Weldon held an “organizational meeting” to see where she stood. About 30 people came out, which Weldon saw as a good start.

“I’m pretty excited,” she said. “I’ve been very. very pleased with the support I’ve already gotten. It’s pretty overwhelming, the support that’s out there for people willing to run.”

In her press release, Weldon said her top priorities are “the local economy, housing and keeping the capital in Juneau.”

She expounded on those points with the Empire Tuesday, saying that she hopes to promote the growth of new businesses in town and diversify the city’s economy.

Weldon is a lifelong Juneau resident and a “fourth generation Douglasite” — though she now lives in the Mendenhall Valley. She serves on the city’s Aquatics Board and volunteers at Juneau-Douglas High School, where her two children go to school. She is also an independent contractor who works with the Empire to deliver the Capital City Weekly, the Empire’s sister publication.

For her first official campaign event, Weldon will be holding a meet-and-greet at Louie’s on June 16 from 4:30–6:30 p.m.

“That’s when we’re really going to see how much support is out there,” Weldon said.

• Contact reporter Sam DeGrave at 523-2279 or at sam.degrave@juneauempire.com.

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