Forrest Dunbar was not our first choice for Anchorage mayor. We also didn’t support Forrest when he ran against Don Young in 2014.
So, it might seem strange for us to be publicly endorsing Dunbar for mayor. But character matters more than ideology. Character is something that Forrest has and his opponent, Dave Bronson, lacks. Forrest always shows up and answers the tough questions no matter who asks. Bronson hides from critics — routinely ducking community and minority forums.
We believe Forrest is wrong about a number of things — the thing is, he’s wrong on issues we can live with. Bronson, on the other hand, has for years demonstrated bigoted views of his fellow Alaskans and trafficked in misinformation — and those are issues we cannot live with, or be silent about.
Bronson was anti-science regarding COVID-19 and the use of masks, even at the height of the pandemic. While many of our families sacrificed for the greater good, he openly held large, maskless events last year in defiance of the mandates. Bronson’s lack of care for the common good is alarming.
After the November election, Bronson openly peddled baseless conspiracies that the election was stolen. Regardless of who you support in an election, we need our public officials to respect the rule of law. Bronson’s lack of judgment — or his gullibility — is disturbing.
In 2016, Bronson had to be removed from leadership by the Alaska Republican Party because he opposed the reelection of our senior Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and supported Joe Miller, the Libertarian candidate running to her right. You read that correctly — Republican leadership had to remove Bronson for supporting a candidate too far to the fringe. Bronson’s extremism is unacceptable.
Bronson now suddenly claims he’s a “center-right” candidate, but he has spent an inordinate amount of time focused on issues that a municipality has no business meddling in: He has advocated against same-sex marriage — something the Supreme Court has determined is a constitutional right; he advocates and has organized in favor of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. How many world-class, successful cities openly discriminate against their citizens? Bronson’s prejudice is disqualifying.
On homelessness, Bronson’s big “solution” is to lock them up or force them into treatment against their will. Here, Bronson demonstrates that either he doesn’t understand the issue or he doesn’t respect Anchorage voters enough to level with them. First, it’s plainly unconstitutional to imprison someone for being homeless. Second, even if legal, it would be unsustainably costly to jail them all. Third, he buys into cheap stereotypes and ignores the fact that many of our homeless are children, veterans, or those who suffer from mental illness. Bronson’s lack of experience is painfully evident on this issue, and renders him unfit to serve as mayor.
The other candidates some of us would have preferred aren’t on the ballot for the runoff, but the stakes could not be higher. Bronson doesn’t want to represent Anchorage, just his partisan and narrow base.
Forrest isn’t perfect, but we know him and his values. He will not foment anger or discriminate against our fellow citizens. He will listen to the diverse voices that make up our city and will do his best to represent them all. And if he gets on the wrong track, we’ll be among the first to let him know.
But for those of us who love our city and respect our fellow citizens, the choice is clear: Vote Dunbar for mayor.
Scott Kendall has a background in campaigns and elections, and also served as chief of staff under Gov. Bill Walker. He is now an attorney in private practice in Anchorage.
Terre Gales is a veteran, former police officer, has a background in political strategy, and is the former chair of Dunleavy for Alaska.
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