Suzanne LaFrance sworn in as Anchorage mayor

Suzanne LaFrance became Anchorage mayor on Monday.

LaFrance was officially sworn in during a private ceremony held early in the morning at City Hall with a few of her top executives. Later, her administration held a public inauguration and celebration at Town Square Park in downtown.

Her public oath of office was performed by Jane Angvik, a former member of the Anchorage Charter Commission and Anchorage Assembly member and chair.

LaFrance reiterated themes she espoused on the campaign trail:

“From Girdwood to Chugiak, we live in an incredible place with incredible people. We’ve also got some big tasks ahead, Anchorage,” she said. “At the municipality, it starts with good government. It starts with transparency and accountability. And I am committed to that.”

LaFrance said her administration will value non-partisanship, collaboration and problem-solving. Among her priorities, she said, are fully staffing city departments — especially police — balancing the budget, improving homelessness and public safety, and delivering “better services to the people of Anchorage across every ZIP code.”

She takes office at a time when the city faces issues with homelessness, public safety and health, while several city departments have high numbers of vacancies, and as the city has fallen a year behind in producing its annual financial audit.


“We get to tackle big challenges that will determine the future of the municipality and that our children and grandchildren will inherit from building more housing to ensuring a reliable energy future,” LaFrance said. “There is a lot of work ahead. We didn’t get here overnight, and we won’t be out of the woods overnight either. But standing before you today, I have nothing but confidence in the future of Anchorage, because I have nothing but confidence in the people of Anchorage.”

LaFrance, a former Assembly member and chair, won the mayoral runoff in May against incumbent Dave Bronson, after leading the Assembly during the first two years of Bronson’s three-year term.

She is the first woman elected as Anchorage’s mayor.

Former Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, also a former Assembly member, was the first woman to hold the mayoral office. In 2020, she was nominated to temporarily serve after Ethan Berkowitz resigned.

Quinn-Davidson gave the opening remarks during LaFrance’s public inauguration on Monday.

“Suzanne and I have shared our respective journeys into public service and leadership in a city, state and world dominated by male leaders and approaches,” Quinn-Davidson said. “I’ve watched Suzanne lead in her own way. Listen, instead of talk. Focus on people and their needs as she navigates challenges, return hateful words with patience and graciousness, and be willing to put herself on the line for what is right.”

Later, LaFrance said, “I really appreciate and I’m grateful for all women to have made such strides and accomplishments.”

“I just felt so proud. It was so moving to sit next to Jane Angvik, Austin Quinn-Davidson, and I’m just so grateful to have this opportunity and I’m looking forward to being the mayor for everyone in Anchorage,” she said.

Native Village of Eklutna President Aaron Leggett also spoke before the ceremonial swearing-in. He commended LaFrance and the Assembly for establishing in 2021 government-to-government relations with the village, representing the area’s Indigenous Dena’ina Athabascan people.

A large crowd filled Town Square Park, including dozens of current and former city and state officials. The crowd included several Anchorage Assembly members and former mayors. Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom attended.

Not far from the park, a small group of protesters gathered with signs on Sixth Avenue and called for Anchorage police to publicly release body camera footage of several recent police shootings. Throughout the inauguration, protesters’ chants of “release the footage!” punctuated speakers’ remarks.

LaFrance addressed the protest during her remarks.

“I want to recognize the people here who are practicing their First Amendment rights. I am very grateful to live in a country where we have freedom of speech and expression,” she said.

“Public safety is the number one job of local government and a responsibility that I do not take lightly,” she added.

LaFrance’s appointed police chief, Sean Case, and municipal attorney, Eva Gardner, “are already digging into issues and working on draft policies to ensure clear communication and build trust between APD and the community,” she said.

Speaking with reporters later, LaFrance did not say what those policies may include and whether or not the decision to release body camera footage will remain up to the chief of police.

“It’s day one,” she said.


It’s most important for the public to understand the process behind releasing body camera footage and if there’s a delay in releasing footage, to know what’s causing that, LaFrance said.

People are grieving, “and so I want to be very respectful to those families, and recognize that being a first responder is a challenging job as well,” LaFrance said. “... These are complicated issues, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to find a way to build that trust and ensure that people understand the process and know why we’re doing what we’re doing and that we really are putting accountability first.”

With just a month between winning the runoff and taking office, LaFrance said the transition between administrations is still underway and “really goes on for three months.”

Her administration is continuing to focus on hiring competent, qualified people who “really are here to serve the residents,” she said.

LaFrance’s transition includes three teams led by 18 prominent Anchorage residents, former legislators and community leaders.

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Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Municipal Attorney Eva Gardner’s last name. It is Gardner, not Gardener.

Emily Goodykoontz

Emily Goodykoontz is a reporter covering Anchorage local government and general assignments. She previously covered breaking news at The Oregonian in Portland before joining ADN in 2020. Contact her at