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Sunday, September 24, 2017
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Step right up and get your new Anchorage Assembly and School Board here

Assembly seats up for change are Patrick Flynn, Bill Evans, Bill Starr, Tim Steele, Pete Petersen and Elvi Gray-Jackson (seated).

(NOTE: UPDATED FEB. 15, 2017)

If you’re in Anchorage, there’s an election in your future — and it could be important to your future.

Voting is April 4 for the Assembly, School Board, and borrowing the city and schools want to do to fix things, install things, and buy other things.

Other fast facts:

  • March 5 is the last day to register to vote in this election.
  • Early and absentee voting begins March 20 at City Hall and Loussac Library. Early voting in Chugiak-Eagle River begins March 27 at Chugiak-ER Senior Center, for Chugiak-ER ballots only.
  • If you prefer to vote by mail, fill out this application. Send in by 5 pm, March 28.
  • To vote by fax, fill out this application.
  • To vote by email, fill out this one.
  • The number to call to determine your polling place is  907-269-8683. Those locations will be published by March 15.

In other words, no excuses. Since 1993, when muni elections were moved to April, only 28 percent of Anchorage voters cast ballots. In 2015, the turnout was a sorry 20 percent. Before 1993, when voting was in November, the turnout averaged 39 percent. (Former Assemblyman Chris Birch, now a state representative, tried to have the muni election returned to November but was blocked by “progressives” and union leaders who prefer low turnouts).

ANCHORAGE ASSEMBLY, FOUR OPEN SEATS:

DISTRICT 1, Downtown
Patrick Flynn is “term limited out.

Christopher Constant, former president of Fairview Community Council. Democrat.
Christopher Cox, Anchorage businessman and former bar owner. Republican.
David Dunsmore, former staff to Democrat Rep. Adam Wool, aide to Assemblyman Pete Petersen. Democrat.
Mark Alan Martinson, has run for assembly before. Nonpartisan, leans conservative.
Albert Langdon Swank Jr. Unaffiliated, leans Democrat.
Warren West. Republican

DISTRICT 2, Chugiak-Eagle River 
Incumbent Bill Starr is “term limited out.”

John Brassell, vice president of Parker, Smith and Feek. Republican.
Patrick Donnelly. Nonpartisan swing voter
Fred Dyson, former State Senator. Republican.
Gretchen Wehmhoff. Democrat

DISTRICT 3, West Anchorage 
Tim (Paul) Steele 
is running for a second term. Democrat.
David Nees, retired math teacher, previous school board candidate. Republican.

DISTRICT 4, Midtown
Elvi Gray-Jackson is “term limited out.”

Ron Alleva, ran for the seat previously. Unaffiliated swing voter.
Felix Rivera, counselor at Alaska Child and Family, political consultant. Democrat.
Marcus Sanders, a safety officer at Wendler Middle School. Democrat.
Don Smith, retired state legislator and Anchorage Assembly and School Board member. Republican.

DISTRICT 5, East Anchorage 
Incumbent Pete Petersen is running. Democrat.
Donald Jones. Republican

DISTRICT 6: South Anchorage 
Incumbent Bill Evans is not running.

Albert Fogle, employee benefits consultant for Northrim Benefits Group. Republican.
Suzanne LaFrance. Democrat

ANCHORAGE SCHOOL BOARD

Two Anchorage School Board seats are being filled in this areawide, nonpartisan race:

SEAT C
Incumbent Democrat Pat Higgins is “term limited out.”

Dave Donley, former Alaska state senator. Republican.
Alisha Hilde, lawyer. Republican
Tasha Hotch, program administrator with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Libertarian.
Christopher Jamison, 2015 candidate for mayor. Democrat.
James Smallwood, owns a small insurance company. Democrat.

SEAT D
Incumbent Kameron Perez-Verdia is not running.
Albert Berke, advocate for the deaf. Democrat.
Andy Holleman, President of the Anchorage Education Association. Republican.
Patrick McCormack, varied work history. Democrat.
Kay Schuster, district teacher, ran last cycle. Republican.

HIGHER TAX PROPOSITION:

The Anchorage Assembly approved one proposition for the ballot, proposed by Assemblyman John Weddleton. It would increase taxes for some Hillside residents who do not presently pay for the Anchorage parks and recreation service area.

BONDS

MUNICIPAL BORROWING

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is asking for $46 million in borrowing for police, fire, parks, and roads, including extending 100th Avenue from Minnesota Drive to C Street, and upgrading Turnagain Boulevard in Spenard. A new playground for the Fairview Recreation Area and a new master plan for Town Square Park downtown is included, as well as three fire trucks, outdoor lighting for fire stations, and upgrades to the Anchorage Police Department subject interview area.

SCHOOL BORROWING

The Anchorage School District is asking voters for $58.45 million in borrowing to pay for projects that include roof replacements at seven schools, heating and seismic retrofitting at West High School and Romig Middle School.

Anchorage voters turned down the school district’s last $49.3 million bond request in 2015.

Anchorage maintains a AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor, AA2 rating from Moodys, and AA+ from Fitch.

Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comment

  • Lower turn out ALWAYS helps republicans so unless you’re criticizing them from the left (which it didn’t sound like since you also took a swipe at unions) your analysis is dead wrong. Also Birch had a conflict of interests with wanting to move the date because it was his last term and he would have made $20,000 more by delaying the voting to November.