Anchorage: a city coming into its own

I am running for mayor and I've been having a hard time choosing a slogan. I've been a candidate before, so I know the drill. You've got to have a catch phrase. A sweet saying that makes people want to vote for you. Trouble is, I'm not really a slogan kind of guy.

I've got a lot of ideas about how we can improve city government. I've got proposals about trimming the budget, creating jobs, making energy more affordable, lowering property taxes, streamlining permitting and fixing potholes. And that's just the beginning. Try finding a way to put that on a bumper sticker. Still, if you're running for office you've got to have a slogan, so the closest I've come is this: Making Anchorage Work For You.

I've been thinking a lot about how to make our city work better. It seems a little absurd that we have an amazing system of trails that's just a few feet short of actually linking up the city. I think we need to fix what's broken with the way we do property tax assessments so people have an independent review of their home valuation. I think we ought to balance our budget by finding efficiencies first, like consolidating duplicate services and equipment between the school district and city government.

We're facing tough financial times as a country and as a community. We cannot escape the fact that we are going to have less money to run city government. And if we're going to do more than just tread water, we've got to make good decisions about how we keep our economy growing.

We can't just freeze everything when our economy is in distress.  We've got to keep Anchorage working. We can streamline permitting to make opening a small business easier. We can lower energy costs and create jobs by being smart about developing renewable energy resources. City government can work with the tourism industry on creative ways to attract more visitors and keep revenue coming in.

I love living in Anchorage. I grew up here and I am proud of how Anchorage has matured as a community. I feel like we are a city just coming into its own. I want to make sure we spend the next few years meeting our challenges instead of retreating from them.

This election is about who you want to make the important decisions facing our community. Some candidates for mayor would use these tough times as an excuse to cut the things that make Anchorage a great place to live. I am running for mayor to take a positive approach: finding efficiencies, working to protect important city services and even aiming to do better where we can.


A lot of people have asked me if I'm sure I want to be mayor when we've got such a bumpy road ahead. The answer is, yes, I really do. This sort of challenge is right up my alley. Making it work was my only option when I served Anchorage as a Democrat in the State House. Whether it was working across party lines to get things done, or thinking outside the box and taking initiatives straight to the people, I am used to waging - and winning - an uphill battle for results.

"Making Anchorage Work For You" doesn't sum up all of my values or my plans for our city's prosperity. But I think it lets you know where I'm headed. I guess that will have to be enough.

I am running for mayor to find ways to make city government work better for all of us. I know we have to tighten our belt and be realistic. But I don't think that should stop us from working together to improve our city. I hope you agree and I'd appreciate your vote on April 7.

Eric Croft is a former legislator and city prosecutor. He represented his Anchorage neighborhood for ten years in the State House and served six years as a leader on the Finance Committee. More information about his campaign for Anchorage Mayor can be found on his website: www.ericcroft.com.