Anchorage

14 questions: Anchorage Assembly candidate Roger Branson

The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for Anchorage Assembly in the 2020 election to answer a series of questions, many of which were based on suggestions from readers. Find all candidates and their answers here. (We also surveyed candidates for Anchorage School Board.)

Note: This survey was sent and candidates’ responses were collected in February, before the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus was reported in Alaska.

Candidate: Roger Branson

Age: 59

Occupation: Residential replacement contractor

Website: rogerbranson.com

Why are you running?

To see Anchorage become an even better place, not just to live and grow, but also to retire among friends and family.

What is your overall vision for Anchorage?

A cherished home to all who desire. One which embraces its past, strives to make today better while building a future which respects the inherent value in each human life as well as the culture that came before us and the environment in which we live.

What specifically should the city do to offset the decline in revenue from the state? Are you in favor of new taxes or revenue? If so, what specifically?

First and foremost, we must maintain our credit rating and build on our successes in the area of the mistakes being made at the state level. The last one benefitted our police department. If we could get a similar deal on an airport/train/ferry combination I think we could figure out the port issue on our own. Perhaps an alliance with the Alaska Municipal League could address these issues.

Should the city cut its budget? If so, where specifically would you cut spending?

I think we need to continue the robust discussion around the efficacy of our expenditures and if we are getting what we are paying for or not.

What specific steps should the city take to address homelessness? If your vision requires funding, where would the money come from?

I think we need to listen to those affected by this specific issue and allow them to define their own way forward to whatever is next for them. I am convinced this will not “cost” money but, if allowed, will actually pay dividends.

What is the biggest issue facing Anchorage, and how would you address it?

Respect. Respect to each other, respect to those with authority over us and respect to those we have authority over.

What specific steps should the city take to address crime in Anchorage?

We need to support our police and give them whatever they need to continue to hold themselves above reproach. Kudos to Chief Justin Doll (and team) for the work being done in Anchorage right now.

2019 was the warmest year on record for Alaska. What should Anchorage do to address climate change?

Pay attention.

How is the current Assembly doing? Are there any issues you would raise if elected?

I am a longtime advocate for persons with mental health issues. The people I serve are way over-represented in the homeless population as well as the criminal justice system. I would very much like to illuminate those issues and validate the plight of the lowly.

Do you support the governor’s budget cuts?

No

The Port of Alaska needs at least hundreds of millions of dollars to modernize. How should port modernization be paid for?

The state needs to step up to the plate here. It can start by fixing its credit rating or by considering the need to start preparing to divest these holdings that make Alaska, Alaska.

Describe an ordinance or legislative issue you plan to bring forward as an Assembly member, and any funding it might require.

I would propose using mental health block grant money to hire additional social workers for our public libraries throughout the city and state.

There is a movement in the Eagle River/Chugiak district to secede from the Municipality of Anchorage. Where do you stand on EagleExit?

I respect Michael Tavoliero very much. He covered my meal expense once when I inadvertently forgot to pay. That means a lot to me as another man may have sent the police. I have to admit that I have not been receptive to the issue for reasons that may have been less than valid. In the spirit of my late friend and former Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center fellow board member, Lee Jordan, I say lets flesh this idea out.

What other important issue would you like to discuss here?

My mother convinced me that Eagle River needs a stoplight at the Old Glenn and Coronado Road so seniors in the growing Coronado Park complex can safely navigate getting to the store and back. I promise to be a steadfast advocate for the seniors in our community in general and to do so by respecting my mother specifically.

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