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Forrest Dunbar announces run for Anchorage Assembly

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published December 11, 2015

Former Democratic U.S. House candidate Forrest Dunbar said Friday he's running for an Anchorage Assembly seat, hoping to replace Paul Honeman, who has decided not to seek re-election.

Dunbar, 31, a captain in the Alaska National Guard, said he's been considering running for several months. He said his decision became final a week ago, when Honeman called to say he would not seek re-election to his East Anchorage seat and would support Dunbar in the April city election.

Reached by phone Friday, Honeman, who was first elected in 2010, confirmed he will not run for a third term. He said he has been impressed in recent months by Dunbar's enthusiasm and focus on Assembly issues.

"It's time for me to step aside and shift (to) a different direction," Honeman said.

He added that, as a full-time campus police officer at UAA who sometimes works graveyard shifts, he's had less time for Assembly work than he would like.

Dunbar filed paperwork with the Alaska Public Offices Commission Thursday night that allows him to start collecting campaign donations. He said he filed candidate registration forms Friday morning.

"Broadly speaking, we want Anchorage to be a forward-looking city that attracts young families and continues to grow," Dunbar said in a Friday phone interview. "I think we need some youth, some fresh blood on the Assembly, to help bring in those perspectives."

Dunbar said he would focus on public safety, affordable housing, the development of a Muldoon Town Square Park and veterans' issues.

Dunbar, who was born in Alaska and grew up in Eagle and Cordova, moved to Anchorage after graduating from Yale Law School in 2012. He is currently the vice president of the Scenic Foothills Community Council in East Anchorage. He also served on a "Live, Work, Play" transition committee for Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

Dunbar lost the race for Congress in 2014 when he was a part-time guardsman; he got 40 percent of the vote to Republican Rep. Don Young's 52 percent. Anchorage city races are officially nonpartisan, though party politics sometimes becomes a factor in fundraising and support.

An attorney in the Guard, Dunbar said he returned Wednesday to being a part-timer, like he was in 2014. He has been working full-time since March on a bill to create a code of military justice for the National Guard. He said Friday he'll continue working on the project but on a part-time basis, with his compensation coming from the federal treasury. Anchorage's charter generally bars state employees from serving in local elected offices.

Honeman joins Assemblyman Ernie Hall of West Anchorage in deciding not to seek a third term in the April city election.