Retired Chugiak High teacher eyes Stoltze's former House seat

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 23:00

Gretchen Wehmhoff announced her candidacy for House District last week at a campaign kick-off picnic at Mirror Lake Park.

Wehmhoff is the sister-in-law of Representative Bill Stoltze, who is running for Senate, leaving his former house seat open.

She filed for candidacy in March and says she feels confident about her campaign.

“I believe in our communities in this district,” she said. “It’s a large district and I’ve spent time meeting people in various capacities. It energizes me to visit with residents and learn about their concerns and ideas.”

A retired teacher, the name Wehmhoff will bring back memories for over two decades of Chugiak High students of their energetic English, debate and journalism teacher. Chugiak-Eagle River Campus UAA students will also recognize her as their Communications professor for nearly as long.

Wehmhoff grew up in Anchorage, attending Anchorage Schools from the first grade through graduation from Dimond High. She earned her Bachelors of Arts in speech communication education from the University of Denver and her Masters of Science in negotiation and dispute resolution from Creighton University School of Law. She married Joe Stoltze and moved to their current home in Chugiak in 1995.

Her community involvement spans a lifetime of Girl Scout service as a troop leader, Chugiak Eagle River Service Unit Manager, day camp director and task member and Arctic Winter Games volunteer coach. She also serves as an Alaska Court System mediator. She received the Gruening Award for School and Community Service and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Journalism Education Association, a national association for journalism educators.

Wehmhoff’s education background includes work on multiple task forces and committees. She served as a volunteer ombudsman for the Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman and enjoys advocating for seniors.

“The time is right,” she said. “A person needs to be able to commit serious time when running for public office. I have the time and I have the desire to do everything I can to help Alaska continue to offer the best education for our children, bring jobs closer to home and control the questionable spending practices we’ve been witnessing.”

Wehmhoff is running unopposed in the August primary and will face the winner of the Republican primary in the November general election.

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