2022 Anchorage municipal election guide: Q&As with candidates for Assembly and school board

We asked candidates for Anchorage Assembly and Anchorage School Board a series of questions about issues and challenges facing the city. Read their responses in advance of the April 5 election.

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Ballots have been mailed ahead of the April 5 municipal election, and to help voters weigh their choices, the Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for Anchorage Assembly and school board to explain their views on key issues and how they would approach different challenges facing the city.

Voting is now conducted by mail in Anchorage, but other options are available to submit ballots, including in-person. More information on how to vote in the municipal election is on available on the city’s election website, which includes an FAQ and a full list of candidates. This year, Anchorage voters can also sign up for automatic updates on the status of their ballot at anchoragevotes.com.

[Coverage of the 2022 Anchorage city election]

This year, five Assembly seats and two school board seats are up for election. School board seats are elected at-large, so voters across the city will vote for each seat. Assembly candidates will be chosen by voters in their district.

You can read each candidate’s response in the links below.

Scroll further down for answers from individual candidates.

COMPARE THE CANDIDATES BY QUESTION

Assembly

What is a short summary of your background?

Why are you running?

What makes you qualified to serve on the Anchorage Assembly?

What is the most important problem facing Anchorage? How would you address it?

What is the most important problem facing your district? How would you address it?

What is your vision of the role of local government in Anchorage?

Rate Dave Bronson’s performance as mayor. Explain, with specific examples.

Rate the performance of the current Assembly. Explain, with specific examples.

The past two years have been marked by increased civic discord in Anchorage. How would you improve the quality of civic discourse in the city?

What’s your vision for improving and diversifying Anchorage’s economy?

What do you see as the most effective strategies to address homelessness in Anchorage going forward?

What’s your assessment of Anchorage’s transportation infrastructure? How would you improve it?

Does the city do a good job of running municipal elections? Would you push for changes? Explain.

Do you acknowledge the results of the 2020 presidential election? Also, what are your thoughts on what took place on Jan. 6, 2021 in the U.S. Capitol?

What’s one thing that makes you hopeful about Anchorage’s future?

What other important issue would you like to discuss?

• • •

School Board

What is a short summary of your background?

Why are you running?

What makes you qualified to serve on the Anchorage School Board?

What’s your vision for public education in Anchorage?

What’s the single most important issue facing the Anchorage School District? How would you address it if elected?

If I could change one thing in the Anchorage School District, it would be _____. Explain.

Do you have areas of concern about student achievement in the Anchorage School District? What are your specific suggestions for improvement?

Do you have ideas for how ASD can improve its career and technical education curriculum?

Are you satisfied with current preschool options? Explain.

Is the Anchorage School District currently doing a good job of retaining quality teachers? What steps, if any, should the school board take to improve teacher retention?

Rate how the Anchorage School District has handled the pandemic, and why? What would you have done differently, if anything?

Many students are struggling due to pandemic-related challenges, both academically and behaviorally. What are some strategies the school district should prioritize to help students recover from that period?

What are your thoughts on how the topic of racism and its history in the United States should be taught in public schools?

What other important issue would you like to discuss?

• • •

THE CANDIDATES

Assembly

District 2 - Seat A - Eagle River/Chugiak

Kevin Cross

Vanessa Stephens

Gretchen Wehmhoff

District 3 - Seat D - West Anchorage

Kameron Perez-Verdia

Liz Vazquez

Nial Sherwood Williams

District 4 - Seat F - Midtown

Kathy Henslee

Meg Zaletel

District 5 - Seat H - East Anchorage

Forrest Dunbar

Christopher Hall

Stephanie Taylor

District 6 - Seat J - South Anchorage

Darin Colbry

Randy Sulte

John Weddleton

School Board

Seat A

Margo Bellamy

Mark Anthony Cox

Dan Loring - Did not respond to survey.

Cliff Murray - Cliff Murray has announced his withdrawal from the race for school board Seat A.

Seat B

Dustin Darden

Benjamin Baldwin - Did not respond to survey, suspended campaign.

Kelly Lessens

Rachel Ries

• • •

Related:

Ballots are in the mail. Here’s what to know about voting in Anchorage’s April election.

Anchorage will vote on $45.6 million in city bond packages and a $111 million school district bond proposal