Anchorage Assembly candidate Q&As: What’s one thing that makes you hopeful about Anchorage’s future?

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

District 2 - Seat A - Eagle River/Chugiak

Kevin Cross

The spirits of my children, ages 7, 10, 13, and 24, and our small businesses, our community councils, our hard work ethic and our strong churches. We hold ourselves to a higher standard and are more community orientated. This is why District 2 is the future of housing and development in Anchorage.

Vanessa Stephens

Its people and our beautiful state. The oil will run out, the streams may dry up but we will always have the most beautiful State in the union. We have amazing sights and so much wondrous nature. My father was a pilot and I wish you all could experience and see all the forests, lakes, rivers, streams, hills and mountains I have only glimpsed and the majestic wonder of this amazing state would open up to you too. Keep it safe and we will never want.

Gretchen Wehmhoff


The youth. When I look at the resolve in my grandchildren who recently lost their mother, our daughter, I have hope. They see the planet and their lives in a more appreciative perspective than most adults.

District 3 - Seat D - West Anchorage

Kameron Perez-Verdia

Our youth. I’ve spent a large portion of my career working in education-centered organizations that engage young people, including APU, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, and as the senior director of education at the United Way of Anchorage. We need youth from across Alaska to represent their communities and inspire change. In my current position as head of the Alaska Humanities Forum, we engage youth through multiple programs, which all share the common goal of inspiring youth to recognize themselves as leaders. One program that’s particularly notable is our Youth Advisory Council, which gives our organization feedback on programming, so we can make sure that we’re hearing directly from youth about how they would like to be engaged. In order for young people feel inspired and involved in politics, they must feel represented and heard. That’s part of why I’ve made listening such a big theme in my campaign, and I will continue to do the same on the Assembly.

Liz Vazquez

Members of the community want to be more involved in their local government.

Nial Sherwood Williams

The citizens of Anchorage are a resilient people. Removing corruption and bureaucracy takes time, but we will remove the swine together.

District 4 - Seat F - Midtown

Kathy Henslee

Anchorage is a city with everything to offer. Managed correctly, our children and grandchildren should prosper in the best city in the world to live, work and enjoy life in the Great Land.

Meg Zaletel

The people. Anchorage is full of smart, kind, hardworking residents who want to work to make this the best place to live, work, and play.

District 5 - Seat H - East Anchorage

Forrest Dunbar

Put simply: Anchorage’s people. Every summer when I volunteer at the Muldoon Farmers Market, folks come up to me and speak to me about our community. With very few exceptions, these talks are thoughtful, respectful and optimistic. Anchorage’s people love Anchorage, love the unique quality of life we have here, and believe in our future. We are coming out of a very tough time, and there are certainly daunting challenges ahead. But if we believe in ourselves, continue to invest in our community, and foster a civil discourse in our neighborhoods and local government, this will continue to be a place where people want to live, work, raise families, and pursue their dreams.

Christopher Hall


Currently? Nothing. Our rent and our living expenses here in Anchorage have gotten so high that one speeding ticket will send somebody back to the Lower 48.

Stephanie Taylor

I am hopeful about the possibilities with a new administration, the hope for new leadership on the Anchorage Assembly, and citizens who are more civically engaged than some of them have ever been before.

District 6 - Seat J - South Anchorage

Darin Colbry

I think we can change for the better and get back together as a community and show the other states we can pull together when things are hard.

Randy Sulte

I am hopeful that the coming April election will bring balance back to the city, signifying a start to rebuilding and healing after a very difficult two years. I envision a fiscally responsible municipal government that engages in reasonable debate and executes the will of Anchorage voters.


John Weddleton

Anchorage is an amazing place to live. Embraced by the mountains and the Inlet is a city with an abundance of ways to enjoy life. Our trail network and parks are far beyond what most cities have. We have universities, a nightlife, a great diversity of people and a long history. While we have challenges, they are solvable and not as extreme as most hub cities. As the Lower 48 burns all summer and suffers in heat, Anchorage looks like a good bet for more growth as people who can work anywhere search for a great place to live. Signs of confidence abound. The $200 million commitment just announced by FedEx, the impressive plans for downtown by Peach Investments and the 6th Avenue Hotel will transform the area. Our future is bright!

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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?