New candidates emerged this month in races for South Anchorage and East Anchorage Assembly seats, with the election about six months away.
On Wednesday, business owner and longtime neighborhood activist John Weddleton filed candidate registration paperwork with the state for an open South Anchorage Assembly seat. Weddleton is hoping to replace Assembly member and Hillside resident Jennifer Johnston, who is barred from seeking re-election under term limits.
Weddleton has never run for public office. He's a self-described "community council guy" and a regular presence at city land-use meetings. Weddleton has served on the Anchorage Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the boards of more than a half-dozen community councils over the years.
"I've been involved with a variety of things, and it feels like a 20-year education getting me ready for what?" Weddleton said. "Getting me somewhere where I can really have an impact … being on the Assembly is really where I can do that."
If elected, Weddleton said he wants to focus on "continuity" in the city's Title 21 land use regulations, which he said he's followed closely, as well as public participation in local government and budgetary issues tied to the state economic crisis. He described his political leanings as "very independent."
Weddleton, 57, moved to Fairbanks in 1982 from New Orleans, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Tulane University. He also received a master's degree in economics at University of Alaska Fairbanks.
In 1987, Weddleton moved to Anchorage to run Bosco's, the Spenard-based comics, cards and gaming store with a branch in the Dimond Center. He now owns the business.
He currently serves on several local committees, including the AMATS Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce's Municipal Committee. He also until recently chaired the Anchorage Hillside Home and Landowner Organization.
Weddleton is the second person so far to enter the South Anchorage race, according to Alaska Public Offices Commission filings. Joe Riggs, a conservative candidate who owns Alaska Healthcare Strategies, a medical equipment and consulting business, is also running.
In East Anchorage, a challenger has surfaced for Paul Honeman's seat; Honeman is up for re-election.
Terre Gales filed paperwork with APOC in mid-September signaling his candidacy. Gales ran his first political race against Rep. Don Young in the 2012 Republican primary.
Gales, 32, is a U.S. Air Force veteran and father of four who currently works as a health and safety officer for the city's Public Works Department. He's a Virginia native who moved to Anchorage in 2002, when he was stationed at what then was Elmendorf Air Force Base. He left the state in 2007, but moved back in 2012, and said Anchorage is now home.
"I just want a safe and economically sound Anchorage," Gales said in a phone interview. "I know I can bring energy and new ideas to help build a strong and vibrant community."
Education and parks in East Anchorage are among his top priorities, Gales said. After he spent 18 months as a police officer in Arizona, Gales said he is also concerned about police staffing levels and community policing.