Meet a candidate: Beth Weldon


• Name: Beth weldon

• Date and place of birth: January 12, 1965, Juneau.

• Residence : 56 years old

• Education: JDHS, University of Washington, BS in Fisheries

Occupation: Retired Division Manager with Capital City Fire / Rescue, owns Glacier Auto Parts with my husband

Family: Husband, Greg; sons, Tyler and Cody and his wife, Taylor; dog artilleryman

• Public Service: CBJ Mayor (2018-2021), CBJ Assembly (2016 -2018), Past President of Glacier Valley Rotary, JDHS Hockey Program Ad Coordinator, Glacier Swim Club and JDHS Athletics Volunteer, Former JDHS Member board of directors of CBJ Aquatics, JDHS Site Council Alaska State Firefighters Association Board, Juneau Ski Club Board and JDHS Wrestling.

• Other experience: Mayor of Juneau, Assembly committees: Public Works, Lands, Human Resources, Finance, Mines Subcommittee, CBJ Supervisor Academy, Aurora Fire Officer Development Program, National Fire Academy Leadership II; Former instructor in EMS, fire service, shipboard firefighting, aircraft rescue firefighting, emergency medical dispatch; Owner / Operator F / V Seven C’s, Local Business Owner

Questions from candidates to the Assembly

• In the long term, how would you develop Juneau’s economy if you were elected?

I would continue to support the Juneau Economic Development Plan; continue to support a diverse economy split between mining, government and tourism; continue efforts to support affordability and child care options to keep young families in Juneau; continue efforts to maintain work programs in order to keep our local workforce; strive to keep municipal services up to date and affordable; continue to support Juneau as the artistic capital of the Northwest; and ensure that Juneau is a welcoming and vibrant capital for our governor and our legislature.

• What strategies would you recommend / undertake to ensure that Juneau has enough renewable energy to meet our goal of being 80% renewable by 2040?

Providing more energy is difficult. We have plenty of electricity in a normal rainy year and can provide electricity to Green’s Creek and Franklin Dock. During our drought years, AELP has not been able to provide them with constant electricity. Both Lake Dorothy Phase 2 and Sweetheart Creek would provide too much electricity to existing customers and would be prohibitively expensive for local taxpayers. Without new customers, we have to keep looking for ways to save energy, like heat pumps and water conservation.

I am currently advocating for AEL&P to develop Sheep Creek as a power source along the river. They applied for an infrastructure grant for this project that would provide enough power for two more docks.

• What more can we do to make our community a more sustainable community, especially by ensuring the health and success of local businesses?

As a small business owner, sustainability is especially important to me. Over the past year, all of the pandemic concerns and restrictions have been tough on our business climate. Federal, state and local financial assistance has been of tremendous help, but challenges remain. To address this, we need to have a reliable and skilled workforce and to encourage and support entrepreneurs. We must also continue to support local purchasing. The lack of cruise ships has shown how vital the tourism sector is to our economy and our local businesses. We need to find the balance between a strong tourist economy and the satisfaction of the local community.

• How would you respond to the pressure to continue to increase the number of cruise ship passengers while striving for a liveable community for the residents of Juneau?

The complete closure of cruise ships and independent travelers in 2020 has shown how much our community depends on tourism. Tourism will rebound, but we have the opportunity to implement the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on the Visitor Industry which has held numerous public meetings to bring together and then address community concerns. We should soon have a tourism manager in the city who can start working on implementing many of the VITF recommendations such as joining TBMP, relieving downtown congestion, and negotiating with CLIA on the “hot docking”. Following these recommendations will help us strike a balance between cruise ships and community concerns. The NCL wharf could also help limit the number of vessels to five.

• What strategies do you recommend that the CBJ undertake to support the availability of affordable housing for Juneauites of all ages?

With the current housing market combined with the low interest rate, house prices are at an all time high and counterproductive for affordable housing. We have continued to make great strides in meeting housing needs in our community, but we have work to do. New areas of single-family dwellings and housing complexes have been identified. The Department of Community Development and the Planning Commission are also updating zoning requirements to reduce restrictions. Pederson Hill has completed Phase 1 and will soon begin Phase 2. Riverview Assistive Living can help some seniors move from their homes to the market.

• What problem / point of view do you have that is probably different from other candidates?

Having the opportunity to serve as a member of the Assembly and now mayor has allowed me to understand the importance of discussion and compromise. Public participation is also essential to the decisions we make. We may feel like we know what the community wants, but we may be surprised if we don’t check in with the audience in various ways. Emails, public testimonials, task forces, and polls are all ways to solicit feedback and disseminate information. The combination of public input and compromise in the Assembly has been particularly necessary during the pandemic. Collaborating with multiple voices is often the best way to get the best results.

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