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: Stephany Jeffers
Occupation: Small business owner
Why are you running?
I care deeply about my community and want to make certain it is represented well. I have appreciated that our current assemblyman, Fred Dyson, made decisions based on details, facts and logic. I hope to continue in his footsteps.
What is your overall vision for Anchorage?
I grew up in Chugiak and have always called it home. It was a safe, healthy and friendly community that I knew I wanted to return to after school and gaining a little life experience. I want the next generation of Alaskans to feel the same way.
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?
I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. The current Assembly has worked hard on a few different options for offsetting the decline in revenue from the state and settled on the alcohol tax. While I would have preferred Assemblyman Dyson’s temporary sales tax, I will wait to see what voters decide in April. The alcohol tax is what will be put before voters in this next election, and I think it is a reasonable option.
Should the city cut its budget? If so, where specifically would you cut spending?
As a longtime student, artist and small business owner, I have years of experience living on an incredibly tight budget and know how to stretch a dollar. That being said, I realize paying the minimum isn’t always the most fiscally responsible option. The municipality has done a good job of working with what they have, but at some point, we need to realize that investing in our city now will reap benefits in the long run.
What specific steps should the city take to address homelessness? If your vision requires funding, where would the money come from?
I think the Assembly is on a good path with the Assembly Priorities they set for 2019-2021. They do a good job of addressing the issue while recognizing the humanity of those experiencing homelessness. The alcohol tax that will be on the ballot has provisions to help pay for the set priorities.
What is the biggest issue facing Anchorage, and how would you address it?
We have a revenue problem. Decisions made at the state level have severely impacted our municipality’s budget. However, the entire state uses Anchorage as a hub and I would like to see the financial burden of keeping Anchorage as a viable hub shared with those who use our city but don’t contribute to it currently.
What specific steps should the city take to address crime in Anchorage?
The hiring of additional officers has been an incredible help in addressing crime in the municipality. I believe addressing the homelessness issue and opioid abuse are the next big steps that need to be taken to fight crime in our city. Much of the crime we see is out of desperation, not from a place of wanting to do harm.
2019 was the warmest year on record for Alaska. What should Anchorage do to address climate change?
I appreciate that the Municipality of Anchorage has been actively working to combat climate change. I strongly support the Anchorage Climate Action Plan and the efforts being made to reduce carbon emissions in our city. We’re on the right path and I would like to see an expansion of programs like Solarize Anchorage and the community compost programs that have already shown great success.
How is the current Assembly doing? Are there any issues you would raise if elected?
For the most part I think the Assembly is doing great work. They are grappling with hard issues, and I appreciate that they work as a team rather than fighting one another. If elected, I would like to see the Municipality of Anchorage take the lead on addressing Alaska’s outrageous rates of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence.
Do you support the governor’s budget cuts?
The Port of Alaska needs at least hundreds of millions of dollars to modernize. How should port modernization be paid for?
I am excited to see that federal funding has come through to help with updates to the Port of Alaska. The Port of Alaska plays a huge role in fueling the Alaskan economy. Between the MARAD grant, the BUILD grant and money set aside by the state of Alaska, the port should be well on its way toward the costs of beginning modernization.
Describe an ordinance or legislative issue you plan to bring forward as an Assembly member, and any funding it might require.
I would like to see an expansion of public transit to more thoroughly serve the people of Chugiak/Eagle River. When the People Mover routes were redone, all of our constituents north of Eagle River lost regular bus service. While ride-shares are theoretically available, they are difficult to coordinate and consistently use. This expansion of current service could be accomplished by either expanding Anchorage service or by coordination with the Valley Mover to pick up additional stops.
There is a movement in the Eagle River/Chugiak district to secede from the Municipality of Anchorage. Where do you stand on EagleExit?
Until I see numbers saying that it’s a fiscally and functionally viable option, I can’t support EagleExit. While I do think that smaller and closer government can serve communities better, I also recognize the huge benefit we get from sharing police, fire, educational and other services with the municipality on the whole. I appreciate that residents of District 2 want their voices and unique concerns to be heard, but that is why I am running for Assembly.
What other important issue would you like to discuss here?
I am eager to discuss issues that matter to my community, and I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have. You may direct questions to JeffersforAlaska@gmail.com.