WILLOW (KTUU) — UPDATED Thursday, May 3, 3:30 p.m.:
Alaska musher DeeDee Jonrowe said Thursday on Facebook that she will not be seeking political office.
In a Facebook post, she said in part: "After much consideration I have chosen to contribute my efforts to my Alaskan communities through other endeavors rather than political positions. I am looking forward to enjoying time with Mike, our canine family, and my great friends that have supported me."
Original Story Tuesday, May 1:
Iditarod legend DeeDee Jonrowe says she’s considering another great race — a run for public office.
In an interview at her home near Willow, where nearly 40 dogs were barking and about a dozen chickens were crowing and clucking, Jonrowe said she wants to give something back to Alaska — a state that’s been her home for decades.
“Whether it’s at an elective office or in some other opportunities, that part I haven’t really had a chance to see,” she said.
Jonrowe has been considering a run for the Mat-Su Borough Assembly, but is also considering the Legislature. She visited Juneau last week and was honored for her contributions to Alaska. She also got to see firsthand how the Legislature works.
“I was fascinated with the way business is done in Juneau,” she said. “This is a citizen legislature so there were people with a wide range of experiences there — or inexperiences — depending on what the topic was at the time.”
Jonrowe says she understands she’s being recruited as a legislative candidate, though her House district, 10, already has a sitting incumbent, Rep. David Eastman.
Eastman wouldn’t give an interview, but issued a prepared statement.
“I’m certain the more liberal Republicans and Democrats in the legislature would like to recruit someone who more closely aligns with them on issues,” Eastman said. “We need to drain the swamp in Juneau, and that means more conservative candidates running for office.”
Jonrowe, who’s about to turn 65, says she’s religious and a conservative Republican. If she faces Eastman in the Republican primary in August, she vowed not to attack him personally. She said she would follow the model set by her father, Ken Stout, when he served on the Anchorage Assembly in the 1980s — listen to all views and be courteous.
Jonrowe said her father and mother are buried in the national cemetery at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, while the parents and brother of her husband, Mike, are buried in Wasilla.
“This state has been our home,” she said. “We’re not going anywhere.”
Jonrowe said she’d have to study the state’s big financial issues before giving an opinion on resolving the deficit or using Permanent Fund earnings for state government.
But, she added, she has a strong belief in public education, trails and access, and natural resources, which she studied at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
She also believes in the value of science — her degree is in biology and she met her husband in the Yukon-Kuskokwim area, where both worked for the Department of Fish and Game.
Jonrowe said she’s been strengthened by her misfortunes — she’s had breast cancer and other medical problems and lost her home in a wildfire three years ago.