Meet a candidate: Troy Wuyts-Smith
• Name: Troy wuyts smith
• Date and place of birth: February 24, 1987. McKeesport, Pennsylvania
• THElength of residence in Alaska and Juneau: Moved to Fairbanks in February 2017. Moved to Juneau in October 2017
• Education: high school, post-secondary education, college attendance, diplomas / certificates, etc.
Graduated from Connellsville Sr. High School in Connellsville, PA in 2005. Graduated from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA in 2009 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in English.
• Occupation: Supervisor at Alaska Airlines. Owner of Crowned LLC.
• Family: Husband, Glenn Wuyts – American immigrant from Belgium. Dog, Woodrow— American Akita.
• Public Service: Donations of clothing to support the homeless. Charity runs. Registration of people to vote. Donations of books. Cleaning of animals in parks / trails. Host Thanksgiving dinners. Disposal of unused drugs.
• Other experience: International LGBTQ + advocacy. Volunteer work with the former President of Iceland, Ólafur Grimson. Multicultural University Student Coalition. Over 10 years in the hospitality / tourism industry.
Questions from candidates to the Assembly
• In the long term, how would you develop Juneau’s economy if you were elected?
First we need to safely bring tourism back to Juneau in large numbers. Tourism is the engine of our economy. This will ultimately make it possible to relaunch our small businesses and encourage new start-ups. I plan to work with JCED to encourage all small businesses and citizens to use the new local frequency app, which is great for local businesses. We must continue to support our commercial fisherman with subsidies and speed up the process as our fisherman provides jobs, food and plays an important role in the success of our economy! In addition, we must strive to become a much more sustainable community.
• What strategies would you recommend / undertake to ensure Juneau has enough renewable energy to meet our goal of being 80% renewable by 2040?
It’s important to build on established organizations like Renewable Juneau and the Juneau Economic Development Council to help local businesses and families make an impact. Local businesses hold a lot of power with their decisions that inevitably spill over to their consumers. JDEC programs connect entrepreneurs with the people and tools they need to be successful, while Renewable Juneau helps individuals and families make change for a better future. We need a strong voice that represents these organizations by continuing the conversation for a more sustainable future and creating opportunities for collaboration.
• What more can we do to make our community a more sustainable community, especially by ensuring the health and success of local businesses?
Juneau is full of people who love the outdoors and understand our essential connection to it. We are not separate from nature, but part of it. I think implementing programs to bring economic relief to companies striving to adopt carbon neutral practices or plastic-free operation could create small-scale education directly for consumers. This would help foster conversations around the idea of sustainability. Juneauities is proud to circulate money locally and giving help to local businesses trying to educate their customers is a great way to keep the momentum of this green movement going. Investing in companies that allow us to operate more sovereignly while relying less on the introduction of goods should be one of our top priorities.
• How would you respond to the pressure to continue to increase the number of cruise ship passengers while fighting for a livable community for the residents of Juneau?
I support the increase in the number of cruise ship passengers with strict measures. Safety comes first, but we need to have a unique approach in order to keep our city open. I support a measure requiring all ship passengers to provide proof of vaccination, as well as a mandatory rapid test before leaving the ship. I would also consider a curfew that would limit the length of time that cruise ship passengers were allowed to circulate in the city. This provides an additional level of security in preventing a Covid epidemic in Juneau. It is the best option to increase tourism and stimulate our economy. We must take all necessary measures to keep our businesses open, in complete safety!
• What strategies do you recommend that the CBJ undertake to support the availability of affordable housing for Juneauites of all ages?
Incentive programs. Tax breaks. Relax zoning / planning rules. Revitalization of the neighborhood. Providing tax relief to landlords if they pledge to keep a certain percentage of their rental properties at an affordable rate for social housing is a start. I also think it’s a good idea to relax the zoning and drafting rules so that it’s easier to speed up the zoning permit processes. We should also allow apartment developers to build on smaller lots if they commit to reserving apartments for low-income residents. Also, we must deepen the revitalization of our neighborhoods. There is a lot of space that we could turn into affordable housing.
• What problem / point of view do you have that is probably different from other applicants?
It was 100% wrong to refuse Norwegian Cruise Line’s $ 2 million donation. In recovering from a pandemic, there are so many organizations that we could have supported with this donation. We should have accepted the funds to help our parents and fix our broken child care system. It is unacceptable that there are waiting lists for parents to obtain quality and affordable child care for their children. Additionally, I would explore the possibility of reaching out and rescinding our decision to decline the donation. We must take all the necessary measures to revive our economy and make the best decisions for our future. Additionally, I am proud to be leading a bipartisan campaign to be the voice of the entire community, not just those who agree with my point of view.