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.
What makes you qualified to represent District 1, North Anchorage on the Assembly?
I was an owner of a small business for 25 years and have been a member of Alaska Public Employees Association for 17 1/2 years. I have worked all over the state of Alaska and served on several boards and committees. This experience has allowed me to interact with a wide spectrum of cultures and a very diverse population. I believe I have the ability to help bridge the gap between the Assembly and the administration.
Technically, I just filled out the paperwork and happened to live in the district for more than enough time and voila! Here I am, on a mail-in ballot near you! All jokes aside, I am not someone insanely special. I wanted to be a firefighter in Anchorage. It was always my dream. I got my AAS in fire science in Reno, Nevada and finished my bachelor’s degree in human services here in Anchorage. I worked full-time through school and lived with my now wife of 17 years as we started a family. I dedicated my life to my business and its employees at Shred Alaska until late 2018. I learned a lot about life, business, people and priorities through that process. Since then I have invested in multiple companies locally, while making sure I focus on giving others the same opportunities that were granted to me... to earn a viable place in life. I plan to continue that path through my work on the Assembly as well.
I have been engaging with our government for decades, from local community councils to traveling to Washington, D.C. I have taken the time to get to know Assembly members and the mayor to have a good working relationship with everyone who has been elected to serve our community. I have even taken it a step further by being involved on the Budget Advisory Commission and having meetings with different departments to get additional information about how they operate.
I have the balanced experience of having worked in government, nonprofits, and the private sector. I have held numerous leadership positions, including serving on Anchorage’s Board of Ethics, the Alaska Humanities Forum, and currently on the Food Bank of Alaska Board. As a member of the Russian Jack Community Council, I helped build a playground. During my time with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, my “little” and I often spoke at community events. And I know this district. I lived and went to elementary school in Spenard. I also lived in Government Hill and Russian Jack, and I have worked in Midtown and downtown. In my time with the Food Bank of Alaska, I have served all over North Anchorage. My history of living, working and serving in the district, my commitment to service and my work ethic make me qualified to represent North Anchorage, my home for the last 21 years.
As a longtime Alaska resident (51 years), I have a unique perspective and insight into the history of our city, and personal concern for its wellbeing. I have resided in North Anchorage for the last 34 years, spending two years in downtown Anchorage; 32 years in east Anchorage. Prior to that I lived in South Anchorage. I have served this city through decades of volunteer work and have reared and homeschooled our five children who are all successful, caring and responsible members of their communities. I know this city inside and out, and my active community participation has led to fresh ideas and the ability to work alongside people from all walks of life. I respect my neighbors and have the ability to listen well and make reasonable decisions for the good of all.
I’ve been deeply involved in my community. I currently serve as vice chair of the South Addition Community Council and have participated on our Neighborhood Plan and Land Use Committees. I am a member of the Anchorage East Rotary Club and help lead our mobile food pantry project in Fairview. I am a member of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce legislative committee and Young Professionals Group, as well as the Anchorage Downtown Partnership. I serve on the advisory board of the Arctic Encounter Symposium, the largest Arctic policy convening in the United States, and have served on the board of directors of the Alaska World Affairs Council.