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Here’s who’s running for Anchorage Assembly and School Board this spring

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: February 6
  • Published February 1

A banner hangs at the municipal election center, 2017. (Erik Hill / ADN file)

[Updated at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 6]

The races for Anchorage Assembly and Anchorage School Board are officially underway, with more than a dozen people signing up to seek local elected office this spring.

Races are underway for three open Assembly seats, where incumbents are either reaching term limits or not seeking re-election. In December, Chugiak-Eagle River Assemblywoman Amy Demboski took a job as a deputy chief of staff with Gov. Mike Dunleavy; the Assembly appointed Gretchen Wehmhoff to her seat. Wehmhoff did not register as a candidate. Dick Traini, the longest-serving Assemblyman in city history, is reaching yet another term limit. West Anchorage Assemblyman Eric Croft is not running for re-election.

Assemblymen Forrest Dunbar and John Weddleton are both up for re-election, but no one filed to oppose them, so they will keep their seats.

One Anchorage school board seat is open. School board member Mark Foster’s term is up in April. The school board had selected Foster in October to serve the rest of Bettye Davis' term. Davis resigned from the board in September because of health problems. She died in December at age 80.

In the other school board race, the current board president, Starr Marsett, is seeking another term.

The election is nonpartisan, though candidates sometimes opt to display party connections.

This is the second year the city election will be conducted almost entirely by mail. The deadline to register to vote is March 3. Elections officials plan to mail out ballot packets on March 12.

The last day to vote is Tuesday, April 2, otherwise known as “Election Day.” Get more information at the city elections website,

Below is the candidate lineup, according to the city clerk’s office. Two candidates withdrew after the Feb. 1 filing deadline: Clayton Trotter and James Smallwood.


District 2, Seat A: Chugiak-Eagle River

Crystal Kennedy: Former legislative staffer for Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla), paralegal and homemaker; Anchorage School Board member, 2003 to 2012

Oliver Scheiss: Substitute teacher in the Anchorage School District; former senior logistics analyst for the Coast Guard and Marine Corps veteran

WITHDRAWN: Clayton Trotter: Business law professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage

District 3, Seat D, West Anchorage

Dustin Darden: City fleet maintenance worker, product demonstrator at Costco and anti-fluoride and anti-abortion activist

Kameron Perez-Verdia: President and CEO, Alaska Humanities Forum; former Anchorage School Board member

Liz Vazquez: Retired attorney, former Alaska State House representative

District 4, Seat F, Midtown

Ron Alleva: Owner of Grubstake Auction Co.

Christine Hill: Semi-retired co-owner of Alaska Auction Co. and Duane’s Antique Market

Meg Zaletel: Attorney at Zaletel Law, director at Anchorage Community House

District 5, Seat H, East Anchorage

Forrest Dunbar: Incumbent Assemblyman for East Anchorage; staff attorney with Chugach Government Solutions and judge advocate with the Alaska Army National Guard

District 6, Seat J, South Anchorage, Girdwood and Turnagain Arm

John Weddleton: Incumbent Assemblyman for South Anchorage, Girdwood and Turnagain Arm; owner of BOSCO’s Comics, Cards and Games, as well as three commercial properties


Seat A

Margo Bellamy: Adjunct professor, University of Alaska Anchorage College of Education; retired ASD educator and administrator, including former executive director of ASD’s compliance and equal employment office

Kai Binkley Sims: Petroleum engineer formerly with BP and Petrotechnical Resources of Alaska; riverboat captain and part-owner owner of Fairbanks-based Riverboat Discovery; part-owner of the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Star, Alaska Journal of Commerce and Alaska Equipment Trader

WITHDRAWN: James Smallwood: Senior account specialist for Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska

Seat B

Paul Hatcher: Owner of Due North Home Design

Starr Marsett: Associate broker at Dwell Realty; current president of the Anchorage School Board

David Nees: Research volunteer at Alaska Policy Forum; seasonal motor coach driver at Holland America-Princess; retired ASD math teacher

Ronald Stafford: Transportation consultant

Daily News reporter Tegan Hanlon contributed to this story.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled a candidate’s last name. It is Meg Zaletel, not Zalatel.

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