Anchorage Assembly candidate Q&As: What is a short summary of your background?

In advance of the April 5 Anchorage municipal election, the Anchorage Daily News asked candidates running for Assembly and Anchorage School Board a series of issue questions. Read all the Assembly and school board candidates’ responses here.

Q: What is a short summary of your background?

District 2 - Seat A - Eagle River/Chugiak

Kevin Cross

Father of four and husband. Born and raised in Anchorage. Pipefitter for 16 years, 3 NICET engineering certificates in fire protection science, former Sunday school teacher, seven years at First Baptist Church, 2014 President, Anchorage Board of Realtors, President/Broker of Real Estate Brokers of AK, Owner of Quantum Laundry Lounge, commercial lending broker, commercial real estate broker, president of the real estate exchange, current chair of the Anchorage Platting Board, landlord, and wildly optimistic, voracious problem solver.

Vanessa Stephens

Born and raised in Chugiak. Started first job at 11 years old. Father was member of the first Chugiak-Eagle River Borough. Bachelor’s in Computer Science, Oregon State University in 1984. Worked four years as staff programmer. APD — 1985-1992. Responsible for all PC forensics and software maintenance and development. 1988-2001 — Started Computer Service business in garage, went to over 1 million annually. Developed MS, forced to sell. Moved back to Chugiak in 1994. Raised four children, all through the Chugiak system. Managed three different businesses. Forced to sell home when partner died. Promoted and supported the Chugiak-Eagle River community. Offered jobs with DOT and FedEx. North Slope PC tech for three years; revamped the Slope PC maintenance system. Managed Eagle River Chevron 2 years. Widowed in 2007 after 25 years with best friend and partner.

Gretchen Wehmhoff


I’ve lived in the Municipality of Anchorage since 1965, attending Willow Crest and Dimond-Mears Jr./Sr. High School. In 1988, I started teaching at Chugiak High School. In 1995 my husband and I moved to Chugiak. I have a B.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Denver and an M.S. in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from Creighton University School of Law. I was on the Assembly for four months in 2019. I’ve served as chair of the Public Transportation Advisory Board, chair of the Water District Task Force for Birchwood and as vice-chair of the Birchwood Community Council. Most of my life has been spent volunteering with organizations such as the Alaska Girl Scouts, Arctic Winter Games, Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman, Alaska Writer’s Guild and Alaska Women for Political Action.

District 3 - Seat D - West Anchorage

Kameron Perez-Verdia

I’m a lifelong Alaskan who grew up in Utqiaġvik. My father is a former U.S. Marine, and my mother is the former President of Ilisagvik College and Commissioner of Education for Alaska. My wife, Monica, works as a nurse practitioner for a local health clinic. Together we have two daughters, Isabel and Mariela. I earned my bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Puget Sound and an MBA from the University of Denver. For more than 25 years I’ve worked in senior leadership positions for Alaska-based organizations, including United Way of Anchorage, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Catholic Social Services and APU. I served on the Anchorage School Board for 4 years. I currently serve as president and CEO of Alaska Humanities Forum, working to strengthen communities across Alaska.

Liz Vazquez

I have lived in Anchorage for more than 38 years (24 years in West Anchorage) and have been involved in the community. Our daughter was born and raised in Anchorage. I served on the following: Anchorage city and school district budget advisory commissions, Chugach Electric Association board of directors. I served one term in the Legislature as a freshman and had two bills passed to benefit the community. I served as a prosecutor, administrative law judge and Assistant Attorney General.

Nial Sherwood Williams

I am an East Coast transplant fleeing tyranny. Having met my lovely wife here in Anchorage, we have chosen to settle here. I have spent the past two years standing up against government tyranny and unconstitutional overreaching by our Assembly. I was the individual who laid down in front backside (former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s) car. I was the one who was tackled by security at the Anchorage LIO. I have been arrested for going to a school board meeting, for silently praying, for refusing to wear a mask, for protesting government. I have always and will continue to speak the truth to power. I demand rights be upheld and government be transparent and open to the people. All power rests with the people.

District 4 - Seat F - Midtown

Kathy Henslee

Kathy is a lifelong Alaskan. Married 35 years to retired Alaska Army National Guard pilot, Steve, they have five children, two sons in laws, and five grandchildren, and all live in Alaska. She is a realtor and has run several small businesses. Kathy has an extensive resume of community involvement – she helped develop and implement the Family Partnership Charter School, the very first charter school in Alaska. She also served as the Transitional Housing and Program Director for Priceless Alaska, a faith-based nonprofit organization partnering with the APD/FBI joint task force on sex trafficking in Alaska.

Meg Zaletel

I’m a hard worker, a problem solver, and I care deeply about my community. My professional experience as a small business owner, attorney, social service and legal advocate bring a diverse perspective to the Assembly. I have had many opportunities to put that experience into action during my first term, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished alongside many caring community members. I have lived in Anchorage since 2005 (with most of that time in Midtown) with my husband, daughter, two dogs, five chickens, and one cat. I enjoy living in Midtown and I’m glad to have made it my home. When not working, I enjoy spending time with my family in the garden, bicycling, being outside and attending community events.

District 5 - Seat H - East Anchorage

Forrest Dunbar

I’ve been honored to represent East Anchorage on the Assembly since April of 2016. I’m a lifelong Alaskan, originally from Eagle on the Yukon River and Cordova on Prince William Sound. My mom was a special-ed teacher and my dad worked for Fish and Game, and they raised my sister and me to work hard, stand up for those who need help, and try to give back to our community. Before the Assembly, I was the Vice President of the Scenic Foothills Community Council and helped found the Muldoon Farmers Market. I am a commissioned officer in the Alaska Army National Guard, where I serve as a judge advocate, and helped write the Alaska Code of Military Justice. I am a member of the Alaska Bar Association, as well as Congregation Beth Sholom in the district.

Christopher Hall


Okay so this is a problem. I worked offshore. I’ve worked his ex pack. So Google doesn’t like that I have been expatriated. I’ve been around the world twice. I have owned three businesses, one was rebuilding, one was firearms and one was refrigeration. I was a teacher, open to the point that I discussed my candidacy, I get it they don’t need that kind of heat from somebody running for office. Okay, so background. I have been an offshore fabricator for 30 years. I work for Kiewit offshore, I work for Kellogg, Brown and Root, I have worked for Patterson. It’s crazy, but I have more experience with foreign affairs than most of our current constituents. My residency has been both Texas and Alaska. I did have residency in Colorado for about seven years.

Stephanie Taylor

Stephanie Taylor has been an Anchorage resident since 1970, when the Air Force stationed her dad at Elmendorf Air Force Base. She graduated from Dimond High School and earned her BA at Seattle Pacific University. Stephanie has resided in East Anchorage since 1989 when she married her husband, Mike. They have five children ages 17 to 29. She has spent the last 30 years raising and homeschooling their children and doing lots of volunteer work. Stephanie has volunteered for numerous organizations and political campaigns. Most recently, Stephanie served as the Alaska State Coordinator for TeenPact Leadership Schools, 2017-2021. She decided to run for Assembly after watching Anchorage decline over the past few years. Stephanie believes in limited government, personal liberty and fiscal responsibility.

District 6 - Seat J - South Anchorage

Darin Colbry

I’m born and raised in Anchorage. It used to be a safe city, but it changed and went downhill.

Randy Sulte

Randy is a fiscal conservative, husband, father of four and a regular citizen who believes Anchorage is not better off than it was six years ago. Randy has a Bachelor of Science from the Colorado School of Mines and an MBA from Seattle University. He is COO of Kakivik and CCI Industrial. H serves on the board of Hilltop Ski Area, Alaska Safety Alliance, and the Budget Advisory Committee. He is past president of Rilke Schule Incorporated and member of Bayshore Klatt Community Patrol. Randy will focus on Anchorage’s homeless, supporting Mayor Bronson’s plan for a navigation center, small business revitalization, fiscal responsibility and accountability for your property tax dollars, improving safety and security, and returning Anchorage to the vibrant city it once was.


John Weddleton

I’ve been a business owner all of my adult life. I was an economic consultant then moved into retail, wholesale and commercial property. I have decades of public service, including co-founding the Spenard Chamber of Commerce, serving on and chairing the Hillside’s Home and Landowners Organization (HALO), serving on the planning and zoning commission, on the Credit Union 1 board of directors, active leadership on community councils and the Boy Scouts of America as a Pack Master and Assistant Scout Master. I’ve been a resident of South Anchorage for over 20 years, I have represented the South Anchorage, Girdwood and Turnagain Arm communities on the Anchorage Assembly since 2016. I am married with four children, four motorcycles, four bicycles and more than four pairs of skis.

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Read more Q&As with Anchorage Assembly candidates:

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?