Anchorage Assembly candidate Q&As: What other important issue would you like to discuss?

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 other important issue would you like to discuss?

District 2 - Seat A - Eagle River/Chugiak

Kevin Cross

We are facing some very large financial obligations. The Port of Alaska, taxpayer exposure for unreimbursed FEMA expenses, ASD budget increases/bonds, low test scores, rampant inflation. We need an Assembly of experienced business owners who are fiscally conservative, hold dollars accountable, and seek to promote parental involvement in education.

Vanessa Stephens

Maximizing our resources. Maintaining a solid infrastructure. Expanding livable areas responsibly. Helping our friends and neighbors to build stronger communities. Show our immense respect for nature. Maintain our freedom to live how we want and where we want. Consider separating Anchorage and Chugiak-Eagle River to maintain the unique lifestyle of each.

Gretchen Wehmhoff


I would like to discuss the impact the process of determining certificate of need has on our citizens who need mental health care, and treatment for opioid addiction and alcoholism.

District 3 - Seat D - West Anchorage

Kameron Perez-Verdia

One thing I haven’t touched on that is a priority of mine is recovering from this economic downturn. So much of what we work on as an Assembly contributes to improving the quality of life in Anchorage and positioning our city as a place where business owners and workers want to live, work and play. Improving public safety, addressing homelessness, supporting our schools, and improving our city’s infrastructure (including parks and trails) all make Anchorage a more attractive business environment. On top of all that, we have worked very hard to promote housing development and provide incentives for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses here in Anchorage. We are now poised to receive another round of federal COVID relief funding and viable funds has been identified to help complete much-needed revitalization at the Port. Now is the time to invest in our city to reinvigorate our economy and build a better future for all Anchorage residents.

Liz Vazquez

The city of Anchorage website needs improvement and provide more transparency. The Assembly needs to provide more information to the residents of Anchorage

Nial Sherwood Williams

It is time for tyrants in local government to step aside and for we the people to retain control of our government and the direction which our city will head. If you, the constituents of West Anchorage, choose me as your Assembly member I promise to always be open to communication. To stand up for the constitutional rights of all citizens. And I will hold governmental accountability and transparency in the highest regard. Thank you for the opportunity to represent your interests.

District 4 - Seat F - Midtown

Kathy Henslee

It is important to find out exactly where all the CARES money from the federal government has gone. Small businesses and Anchorage families deserve to know how that money was spent by the Assembly.

Meg Zaletel

My campaign promise was and continues to be that I will put people before politics. During my time in office that is exactly what I have done. I have consistently brought forward policies that benefit the residents of Anchorage. Please support a continued path forward by supporting my reelection. It is an honor to serve and work with the residents of Midtown everyday, which I will continue to do when reelected.

District 5 - Seat H - East Anchorage

Forrest Dunbar

I spoke about it in other responses, but I want to reiterate: The rising costs of housing, fuel, and everyday items are a tremendous burden for our residents, particularly working families in East Anchorage. We have passed residential property tax relief in the past, and I hope the state will give us the tools to do so again soon. I also urge the state Legislature to pass the $1300 energy relief check, in addition to a full PFD, and I will again focus the municipality’s second batch of federal relief funds on our hardest hit businesses, families, and the nonprofits that serve them. Long term, we need to build more housing, provide additional workforce training, and ensure that we have a functioning Port to bring food and other goods into Anchorage as affordably as possible.

Christopher Hall


I would like to see the city Assembly’s pay lowered. If they have one meeting a month, at 5 hours they would make something like $319 an hour. This is unacceptable.

Stephanie Taylor

I would like to do my part in helping heal any racial divides that might exist in our city and in our nation. Racism is something any fallible human being is capable of no matter what color of skin they have. As a Black woman who’s lived here for most of my life, I can attest to the overall sense of racial acceptance I’ve felt from my community. I know that is not the case for everyone. We have a very diverse community when it comes to both race and politics. Respect is not only important to demonstrate toward those who look differently, but even more difficult to provide for those who think differently. We need to relearn the art of respect and healthy boundaries. In the end we may still disagree, but we can come to a greater understanding and begin building stronger bridges of trust together. I’m ready to listen and have the hard conversations on the Anchorage Assembly.

District 6 - Seat J - South Anchorage

Darin Colbry

I know we can get a handle on car break-ins in this city by a vote for me.

Randy Sulte

None at this time.


John Weddleton

Is Anchorage better off now than it was 6 years ago? We moved past the SAP debacle. We rebuilt the police force and have lower crime rates. We overhauled our land use and building codes to help increase housing. We modernized permitting to make it fast and efficient. We sold ML&P and used the funds to spin off property tax relief. We diversified our tax base. We are transforming the way we deal with the homeless. We have a clear path forward to repair and modernize the Port. The list of achievements over the past 6 years is long. This was done despite strong headwinds of the statewide recession, the collapse of revenue sharing, the earthquake and the pandemic. While these challenges hurt many businesses, others have prospered. With the return of tourists, we will see most businesses regain their footing. Smooth seas never made a skilled sailor. The challenges of recent years increased my ability and all of Anchorage’s ability to bounce back and prosper.

• • •

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?