Will the next Fairbanks mayor be Republican David Pruhs or Democrat Valerie Therrien? With the current mayor Jim Matherly, a Republican, running for State Senate, Fairbanks will have a new mayor after its Oct. 4 municipal election.
Conservatives in the heart of the Interior are on guard for keeping the mayor’s office in the red column at a time when Anchorage has struggled with leftists taking over important roles in city government.
David Pruhs has been a real estate broker for 20 years, and also runs a real estate education firm for new licensees. He was a commissioner on the State of Alaska Real Estate Commission, a two-term city council member, and the present director of the Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing Board, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing. The lifelong Fairbanksan is also the founder of the Alaska Barbecue Association, which puts on a competition every year that brings in people from all over the country to Fairbanks.
Pruhs is also the founder and chairman of the Polaris Working Group. The famous building downtown has been boarded up for years and is in disrepair; it is considered unsalvageable but removing it has been wrought with regulatory barriers. The group has secured funds to demolish it, but still has to work through the problem of where to take the asbestos; members have worked closely with the D.C. delegation to secure the funds for the city, which is the unfortunate owner of the property due to unpaid taxes of the previous owner.
Pruhs is also past chair of the borough planning commission and past member of the borough board of equalization. Pruhs’ campaign website is at this link.
His opponent is a liberal lawyer who serves on the Fairbanks City Council. Valerie Therrien signed the recall petition against Gov. Mike Dunleavy in 2017, when supporters of former Gov. Bill Walker tried to have Dunleavy removed from office, just months after he was elected. She is a member of the League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, is a registered Democrat and longtime activist in Democratic politics who has lived in Fairbanks for 46 years.
The last Democrat to hold the mayor office was John Eberhart, who was beat by Matherly in 2016.
More information about candidates in this and other elections related to Fairbanks can be found at interiorrepublicans.org.