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Rural Alaska

Former North Slope Borough mayor ousted by voters files to reclaim the office

  • Author:
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published April 29, 2016

Former North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower, recently voted out of office in a recall election over ethical concerns, has filed to run again in a special election to fill her own seat, though it's uncertain whether borough rules will allow such a move.

"Let the record speak for itself," Brower said Friday.

Brower said she deserves to fill out the rest of her term that was to have ended next year in part because she helped improve the borough's economic outlook. She added that the Inupiaq people of the North Slope are "forgiving" and willing to look past mistakes.

Asked what her mistake was, she said: "I'm still trying to figure that out."

Brower filed to run Thursday, the cutoff day for the June 7 special election, in what's shaping up to be a crowded field. Among the other candidates is her past challenger, George Ahmaogak. Ahmaogak is also a former mayor, first elected in 1984 when he beat Charlotte Brower's husband, Eugene Brower, then the incumbent.

Borough Clerk Sheila Burke said on Friday she's trying to determine if borough laws would prevent Charlotte Brower from running again.

"That's the research I'm doing right now. I'm trying to get that resolved so that's why I'm busy, so bye," she said before hanging up on a reporter.

Nine people have filed for the seat in the northern Alaska region.

Candidates who have been confirmed in addition to Ahmaogak, and whose names Burke would release, are Harry Brower Jr., deputy director at the borough's wildlife department (Charlotte Brower's brother-in-law); Gordon Brower, deputy director of the borough's planning department (a cousin of Charlotte Brower's husband); former Barrow city mayor Donald Long; and Borough Assembly member Vernon Edwardsen. Roy Nageak, a North Slope Borough Assembly member, a natural resource specialist with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the brother of Rep. Benny Nageak, D-Barrow, said he also filed for mayor and is awaiting a confirmation letter from the borough.

Brower was ousted in an April 5 election after reports surfaced last summer showing her office had spent more than $800,000 on gifts to organizations, sports teams and individuals. Some of the gifts went to members of her family.

Mike Aamodt, Borough Assembly president, was appointed interim mayor on April 12.

Ahmaogak, who has a home in Anchorage and one in Barrow, said he's heard from borough staff "insinuating" he doesn't meet the borough's six-month residency requirements. But he meets the requirements, just like he did in 2014, when he narrowly lost to Brower, he said.

"I'm the leading contender," he said, so some people are trying to sow doubts about his status.

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