Who am I: My name is Bruce Dougherty, and I'm a 28-year veteran of the military, and recently retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel. I'm a politically moderate candidate interested in getting things done and listening to the concerns of my community.
Why I am running: We have an Assembly that has become increasingly imbalanced and out of touch with voters and the fundamental values of democracy. There are a few issues that will play a key role in helping voters in South Anchorage make their choice for who represents them on the Assembly.
The most prominent issue is AO 37, the labor ordinance, which changed the how the city negotiates with its employees. I disagree with those changes and believe they were unnecessary. What bothers me almost as much as the changes themselves was that it was exposed to the light of day literally minutes before the deadline to file as a candidate for Assembly. This was done to ensure anyone who wanted to run against an incumbent in anger over the issue wouldn't be able to do so. That is just plain disrespectful to the democratic process, and as your Assembly member I pledge to do business out in the open -- no smoke filled rooms, no politics as usual.
We should allow our workers to negotiate with the city in good faith, and we should never allow our elected officials to make decisions behind closed doors or in a way that keeps us from having our voices heard.
School funding is another issue that most folks are concerned about. A minority in the Alaska Legislature has made a splash by trying to push for a constitutional amendment allowing public funds to go toward vouchers for religious schools. I firmly oppose using public funds to support private or religious schools, while both of my opponents support it.
This isn't before the Assembly currently, but it's no secret that there are politicians who want to undermine our public schools, and religious vouchers are just one of the ways they're going about doing it. I think we as voters should be very skeptical of any people who say they want to make education better by defunding the schools responsible for educating the vast majority of our children.
The Anchorage Police Department is severely understaffed. When looking at the number of officers per 1,000 residents, we are near the bottom in the nation, and that's unacceptable. It can take hours for the police to respond to minor emergencies (I've personally experienced this), and while the APD does a decent job handling major incidents, they have to stretch officers to the limit, forcing them to work overtime, leaving them unable to take vacations, and thus contributing to turnover and low morale on the force.
During my first three years on the Assembly, I want to bring a reasoned and balanced approach to getting things done and spend more time listening to constituents and members of the community than what we're seeing right now. I want to increase the number of police on the streets, scrap AO 37, have the city pay for School Resource Officers, encourage the development of renewable energy, and support our teachers in making our schools some of the best in the country.
Conclusion: It would be my honor to bring my 28 years of military experience to work for you on the Assembly.
Editor's note: We asked the three candidates running for Assembly Seat K, in South Anchorage to address three issues -- their views on the labor ordinance (AO37), school funding and what they hope to accomplish in their three-year term. And we invited them to write about any subject of their choice as well. Below are the responses from Bruce Dougherty, Bill Evans and Pete Nolan. They are running to succeed Chris Birch.
By BRUCE DOUGHERTY