Mayor won't seek re-election

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Ken Koelsch said he wants to spend more time with his family.

    Koelsch said being Mayor was a great learning experience and he got to work with a lot of wonderful people and he wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

    "I'll let the people decide what is the accomplishments," he added.

    Koelsch also challenged the younger generations to start stepping up to serve, "There are indications that will happen.  It is time to go home, see my wife and grand kids and spend some time there."

    Koelsch said he plans to remain active in local activities and he encouraged other residents to be engaged in activities when they have the time to do so.

    "There is no candidate that I'm backing.  I don't know for sure who else will be declaring.  We'll just have to wait and see," he added.

    Koelsh was first elected in a special election on March 15, 2016.

    "I am proud of what we’ve done for Juneau. Nothing is simple or easy but we tackled difficult and complex issues like homelessness and crime while still trying to pay attention to schools and streets and keeping taxes under control.

    "I’ll miss strolling the halls of the Capitol every Friday morning, talking to legislators and trying to address their concerns. It was an honor getting to know some truly dedicated and amazing lawmakers from around Alaska. Out of 60 legislators, only three are from Juneau – we’re kind of outnumbered, so I thought it was important to make friends for the Capital City. Based on all the feedback I got, I think that was time well spent. "

    Koelsch said he will not be endorsing anyone to succeed him.

    "I understand we may have some great people stepping forward and I trust the community will make a good decision."

    Koelsch taught at Juneau-Douglas High School from 1968-1996, and served as the Port Director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection for 18 years. He was on the Juneau Assembly from 1997-2003, as well as serving on other boards and commissions before winning 59 percent of the vote in a special election for mayor in 2016.

    Koelsch commented on the job of a mayor:

    "Being mayor wasn’t on my life lesson plans when we moved to Juneau in 1968 for a teaching job. Being mayor wasn’t on my bucket list when I retired from U.S. Customs in 2014 at the age of 70. But it happened thanks to the hard work of many and now I can check that box too."

    "A mayor accomplishes nothing by him or herself. It takes the dedication of eight other Assembly members, an engaged public, a City Manager and a City Attorney and a hard working group of city employees to produce the quality of goods and services expected by Juneau residents."

    "I have had the luxury of not having to be guided just by poll numbers or the loudest voices." I’ve had the luxury of trying to do what is right by relying on my family values and life experiences and my interactions with you." "Minute with the Mayor" topics come from phone calls, emails, letters, Assembly meetings, neighborhood meetings, walking down the street, grocery shopping, going to church." Being mayor isn’t theoretical.

    "It’s where the rubber hits the road. It’s making decisions about taxing your hard earned income and spending your money, funding education, dealing with crime, providing recreational opportunities, supporting our economic engines like government, mining, fishing, tourism, small businesses and trying to ensure there is a safety net where and when it is needed."

    "Thanks for allowing me the privilege of being your mayor. It will be weird to turn off the lights in my office for the last time and leave some things unfinished but that is the nature of the job and life. When I leave for the last time, it will be to go home to my wife of 50 years, Marian, and our children and grandchildren. It doesn’t get any better than that."



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