Reggie Joule may be leaving Juneau, but he's not leaving politics. The eight-term Alaska representative announced recently that he would not seek re-election to his post. But this week, Joule announced he would run for mayor of the Northwest Arctic Borough.
"I appreciate the support given me while I was in the state legislature, by my family and the district," Joule said. “I feel the time is right to come back home and put the things I have learned to work here in this borough."
Current Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Siikauraq Martha Whiting's term has expired. The only other candidate to file with the Alaska Public Offices Commission is Patrick Savok, a Northwest Arctic Borough assemblyman who ran against Whiting in the last election. Savok has filed his intent to run but has not officially entered the race.
In recent years, Joule has been on the front lines of the effort to get Arctic needs recognized in a time of rapidly expanding development. He worked on the Northern Waters Task Force, which resulted in the creation of the Arctic Policy Commission.
Joule, who was born in Nome, has lived in Kotzebue since 1959. He has worked a variety of jobs, from janitor at Camp Sivuniigvik, to the Kotzebue City Council, NANA, the Northwest Arctic School District board. He is a Native Village of Kotzebue tribal member. "Kotzebue is home," he said. "This is where we raised our children."
The candidate filing period for the mayor's seat, as well as other elected posts, is open until Aug. 17 for the Oct. 2 election. The filing period for Joule's seat in the Legislature is up, however. Four candidates have filed -- Adeline Hopson and Benjamin "Bennie" Nageak, both of Barrow; Robert Nelson of Kotzebue; and Greta Schuerch of Kiana.
This article was originally published in The Arctic Sounder and is reprinted here with permission.