Anchorage Assembly candidate Q&As: Why are you running?

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: Why are you running?

District 2 - Seat A - Eagle River/Chugiak

Kevin Cross

To represent the people of Chugiak-Eagle River, Eklutna, and JBER. To protect the rights of small businesses and private property, reduce the red tape and complications of our MOA planning departments, and fight to protect the unique and charming character of District 2 while promoting the Chugiak Eagle River Comprehensive Plan.

Vanessa Stephens

I really want to see this area and community fully served and retain its friendly, supportive, neighborly attitude. Stop it now from just becoming a subsidiary of Anchorage. And, a member of the Assembly convinced me I was too young with my way of thinking to just sit around, get old and be dominated by Anchorage

Gretchen Wehmhoff


We need strong and respectful leadership from District 2. Chugiak-Eagle River is a wonderful community of good, involved and hardworking people. We are not accurately reflected by current politics. We need representation by Assembly members who have deep and long-term connections with our district.

District 3 - Seat D - West Anchorage

Kameron Perez-Verdia

Since 2019 I have been honored to represent West Anchorage on the Assembly. During my time on the Assembly, I have prioritized public health and safety, education, economic development, and addressing the complex issues related to homelessness in Anchorage. We have made a lot of progress since I was elected, but there is still more work to be done. At the same time, missteps we have seen from the new administration present a real threat to those gains we have made. I am running for reelection because now, more than ever, we need experienced and thoughtful leaders on the Assembly who will stand up for West Anchorage and make the right decisions to build a better and brighter future for everyone in our city.

Liz Vazquez

To improve Assembly accountability, transparency and civility. In addition, our local economy, infrastructure and schools need improvement.

Nial Sherwood Williams

To stand up for the constitutional rights of all Anchorage citizens. Too often governmental officials and the political donor cartel get rich off the blood of the peasants. This has gone on for 70-plus years in Anchorage. It is time to truly drain the swamp. Electing Kameron Perez-Verdia or Liz Vazquez will only persist the same plague of corruption in Anchorage. It is time for a commoner to be elected who stands for and with the people. Stop electing government corruptocrats.

District 4 - Seat F - Midtown

Kathy Henslee

I have been dissatisfied with the way this Assembly has been running Anchorage. Our city is in decline because of mismanagement and lack of leadership. Anchorage is my home and I could not stand by and watch things continue as they were so I decided to step up and offer a different perspective.

Meg Zaletel

I’ve made Midtown my home. I’m raising my family here, I have my business here and I’m very invested in the community. I believe Midtown residents expect and deserve a hard-working representative who puts people before politics.

District 5 - Seat H - East Anchorage

Forrest Dunbar

I’m running because there is still work that needs to be done for my district, and because I want to make Anchorage an even better place to live. We need experienced leadership to get us through this tumultuous period, tackle affordable housing, homelessness, and workforce development, and get our economy back on track. I believe Anchorage can be an exciting city with strong public safety, thriving businesses, good-paying jobs and a top-tier education system. Our community has advantages few cities share, including world-class trails, a deep Indigenous history, and an incredibly diverse population. Those advantages position us for a strong economic recovery and long-term growth thereafter. Despite the difficulty of the last two years, I still believe that our best days are still ahead of us.

Christopher Hall


I’m blowback.

Stephanie Taylor

I have been a resident of Anchorage for 51 years. I love this city and care about my neighbors and community. I have been very dissatisfied with what I’ve seen over the last few years: Homelessness has risen to historic highs, based on what I’ve seen in my 51 years in Anchorage, businesses have been crippled by overreaching regulations, and people have been overburdened by taxes with little to no results to justify it. I am running, not because I desire a career in politics, but because I want to help find solutions for the problems we face in order to revitalize our beloved city.

District 6 - Seat J - South Anchorage

Darin Colbry

To bring good change to Anchorage, back to a safe place to live.

Randy Sulte

I am running because I believe that Anchorage has been in steady decline over the last several years and I feel my leadership skills can help bring balance and direction.


John Weddleton

I am looking forward to three more years. While the view is clouded by the pandemic and the state’s ongoing recession, we have accomplished a lot over the past six years. We have a lot of big things going on and I want to continue to be a part of that. As chair of the Community and Economic Development Committee and with a seat on the AMATS Policy Committee, I am in a good position to help with allocation of federal infrastructure funds. With the mayor’s commitment to addressing homelessness, we are making real progress. We are continuing to work every angle to get more housing. We are fixing the Port. There are big things ahead, I know how to get the work done and I look forward to doing it.

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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?