Three candidates have applied so far for the soon-to-be-vacant District 1 Assembly seat.
In January, Jesse Kiehl will vacate his City and Borough of Juneau Assembly seat for the Alaska Senate. The three candidates who applied to fill his seat are Meilani Schijvens, Theresa Yvette Soutiere and Kate Troll.
A candidate will be appointed by the current Assembly members and serve until the next regularly scheduled election in October 2019, at which time the seat will be placed on the municipal ballot for the remaining year of the term.
Schijvens currently works as the director of Rain Coast Data, a Southeast Alaska firm specializing in economic development, research, analysis and publications. She’s a lifelong Juneau resident who has spent the last 20 years researching Juneau and Southeast Alaska economic topics.
“I just love this community and I would be honored to have a voice,” she said. “Juneau’s facing tough economic times, and it hits our community unequally.”
Her main focus if appointed would be fixing the “zero to three” issue for kids in Juneau, she said.
“We’ve had 300 more kids leave Juneau than have moved here in the past two years, and I think that’s a problem,” Schijvens said. “That’s an immediate area that I’d like to focus on.”
She said she’s had years of experience organizing different public meetings for various jobs. And while she once was a staffer in the U.S. Senate and had several appointments to state and local boards, she’s never served in an elected position before. She holds a Master of Environmental Science from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Colby College. Before founding Rain Coast Data, she worked as the executive director for Southeast Conference, as a Research Analyst at McDowell Group, as a Program Officer at the Juneau Economic Development Council and at the Greens Creek Mine.
Theresa Yvette Soutiere
Soutiere is an attorney at her own private practice specializing in criminal law and immigration. She previously worked as the supervising attorney for the Office of Public Advocacy. Before that she was an attorney at the Alaska Public Defender’s Office, according to her Letter of Interest. Before attending law school she worked in the nuclear industry.
She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School, with a concentration in criminal and environmental law. She also has Bachelors of Science in Microbiology and Biology from Colorado State University. She is a private pilot and member of Trail Mix.
After seeing last week that only one person applied for the seat, Soutiere decided to put her name in the mix.
“I really wanted to continue what Jesse Kiehl had been doing,” Soutiere said. “There was a mixture of you can’t complain if you’re not trying to do something good, so I figured I’d apply.”
Her main goals if appointed to the seat would be to address homelessness and the shortages of child care and elder care in Juneau.
Troll is a writer and speaker on conservation and climate issues. She was previously a member of the Assembly from 2013 to 2016. She holds a Masters of Natural Resource Management from Yale University and a Bachelors in Biology from Drake University.
When she served on the Assembly before, she served on the Human Resources, Lands and Finance Committee and the Lands Committee. Her other experience includes being an Assembly member for the Ketchikan Borough Assembly. She has over 22 years of professional experience in fisheries, coastal and energy policy including executive director of United Fishermen of Alaska and Southeast Alaska Seiners. Her business experience includes seafood marketing and processing as well as owning and operating a bed and breakfast.
“I think of myself as a problem-solver, a good listener, a team player and one who does her homework,” Troll said in her Letter of Interest that she provided to the Empire. “I believe my time and voting record while serving on the Assembly bears this out.”
She said she applied for several reasons. One being that she still has sense of civic duty and wants to give back to her community. Two that she has a lot of pertinent experience, as she has six total years of Assembly experience and a “solid working relationship with current city staff.”
Residents eligible for the District 1 seat must live in downtown Juneau, Douglas, North Douglas, Lemon Creek or near the airport, and have lived there for at least a year. If you have questions about which Assembly District you reside in, you may contact the Clerk’s Office to confirm your eligibility.
Declaration of Candidacy forms are available on the CBJ website or in hard copy at the Municipal Clerk’s Office at City Hall. In addition to the requirement to file a Declaration of Candidacy form and a Letter of Interest, the person appointed to the seat will be required to file and Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) Public Official Financial Disclosure Statement within 30 days of taking office. The Assembly is accepting Letters of Interest and Declaration of Candidacy forms now through the end of the business day on Jan. 2, 2019.
• Contact reporter Mollie Barnes at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.