The Anchorage Daily News asked Anchorage Assembly candidates for District 1, North Anchorage to answer a series of issue questions. Read all of them here.
Name one thing the Anchorage Assembly and/or Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson accomplished in the last year that you support, and why.
Position qualifications are a must for section managers to run an efficient municipality, and I believe the Assembly has been diligent in making sure qualification requirements are met. I am encouraged that the Assembly and the administration are finally working together on a compromise for the homeless.
Mayor Bronson’s decisive leadership for the city and the Assembly staying out of the business of mandates was a great accomplishment and a show of strong leadership. I would like to go on record to state that as your Anchorage Assembly representative I will not ever be a vote for the following: school closures, mask mandates, lockdowns of any kind, business or services closures, vaccine mandates (private or public). I will not vote for school closures. I will support mask recommendations and online learning options. I will not vote for mask mandates. I will support mask requirements in hospitals, nursing homes and in any private business that chooses to require all patrons wear masks. I will not vote for lockdowns. I will push for additional services for those that must isolate. I will not support private business or public service closures. Our economy must keep moving. I will not vote for a vaccine mandate. What you do with your body is your choice.
I think that the focus on funding for the Port of Anchorage has been vital. It’s something that the Budget Advisory Commission has identified as one of its priorities when looking at the budget, and I think that as a community we have seen how quickly panic purchases happen when there is concern of supply chain issues. I’ve been happy to see it being discussed in a more realistic manner of who else needs to be involved in the conversations so that this critical work can get done.
I strongly support Mayor Bronson’s fight for state funding for the much-needed Port of Alaska repairs. The Port of Alaska is a pivotal structure not only for Anchorage but for the state as well. The port serves as our supply conduit from the Lower 48 and the world. Our raw materials are shipped out from the port and a vast majority of our everyday needs are accepted through the port. Anything that damages the port or puts it out of commission, even in the short-term, would have devastating effects on Anchorage. So I strongly support his efforts and will work with him to keep Anchorage open for business.
Under Mayor Bronson’s leadership, Public Works has streamlined, simplified and integrated the permitting process for builders and contractors. He has also prioritized and secured some funding for the much-needed restoration of the Port of Alaska. These actions help business and industry thrive in Anchorage, both now and in the years to come.
I believe one of the Assembly’s crowning achievements over the past year has been the creation and expansion of the Anchorage Fire Department’s Mobile Crisis Team. The MCT, comprised of paramedics and mental health clinicians, de-escalates crises and helps folks get connected to the services they need. It often prevents the need and expense of further emergency care. This, in turn, frees up the Anchorage Police Department to respond to property theft, violent crimes and other calls where they are more urgently needed. The highly successful program is funded via the alcohol tax, so it accomplishes its important mission without raising property taxes. Additionally, now that the program has been expanded to 24/7 operation, AFD will be able to bill Medicaid for these services, which will reimburse close to 25% of expenses. In a state and city with high suicide rates, this work is vital.