New Assembly member to replace Dunbar: Joey Sweet

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Joey Sweet will become a temporary seat-filler on the Anchorage Assembly, after the votes were counted today to replace former Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar, who won a seat for Alaska Senate.

Five people applied for the position. On the first round of voting, the breakdown of votes by members of the Assembly:

  • Joey Sweet: 5
  • Hilary Morgan: 2
  • Harry Crawford: 2
  • Jim Wojciehowski: 1
  • Rich Foehner: 0

Wojciehowski and Foehner were eliminated and the Municipal Clerk and her staff then huddled and tabulated the final results using ranked choice voting.

After an explanation of the exceedingly complicated elimination process that was dictated by municipal code, the finalists were:

  • Joey Sweet: 6
  • Harry Crawford: 4

Ballots were redistributed to the Assembly with those two names, and with a binary choice in front of them — one of them an old guard from the Democrat Party and one a young turk in the same vein, the final vote was:

  • Joey Sweet: 7
  • Harry Crawford: 3

Crawford, the longtime legislator and water-carrier for Democrats was out.

Sweet was raised in Wasilla and graduated from the Mat-Su Career and Technical High School. He enrolled at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and studied political science, and then transferred to the University of Alaska Anchorage to complete his studies.

Sweet is a former student regent on the University of Alaska Board of Regents, appointed by former Gov. Bill Walker. He was an intern for the Alaska Democrats and worked at the Alaska Center for the Environment; he sold products at the Apple store and attended at University of Alaska Fairbanks. He earned an MPA from the University of Alaska Anchorage and graduated in 2021. His LinkedIn profile lists his pronouns as he/him.

Sweet, who lives in UAA campus housing, will serve until April 25 for the District 5, Seat H neighborhoods in East Anchorage.

At the end of the meeting in which he was elected by the Assembly, who are now his equals, Sweet was seated on the dais in Assemblywoman Jamie Allard’s seat, rather than Forrest Dunbar’s seat. Allard was not at the meeting, although she is on the Assembly until Jan. 17.

Sweet thanked the Assembly and said he plans to make it a full-time job and will take the job seriously.

Assemblyman Chris Constant noted that Friday is Jan. 6 and he hopes everyone “will get passed all these fake arguments about fraudulent elections. My spirit feels bigger today that we had an election here and it’s done.” Assemblyman Felix Rivera noted how nice it was that ranked choice worked, and it was to have a young person on the Assembly.

Like Assemblyman Rivera, Sweet is starting out in elected government early in his life. Rivera moved to Alaska from Texas and worked for Mayor Ethan Berkowitz as an intern, and then ran for Assembly when he was 24 years old. The seat will be on April 4 ballot, when voters will choose who will represent them through the end of Dunbar’s term, which ends in April of 2025.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Looks like he got a sweet deal.

    Nothing like a kid who has little life experience to make decisions that affect the lives, property, and income of others.

    Will he lead the Struggle Sessions as the Great Leap Forward rolls on?

    • I have strong suspicions that the municipal assembly’s choice here will not be sweet for the taxpayers and non-authoritarians of Anchorage.
      .
      But wait:
      “…worked for Mayor Ethan Berkowitz as an intern.”
      .
      Cancel those suspicions, and make them proven fears.
      .

  2. Two people cannot occupy one emolument at the same time. One pay spigot at one time: – one check paying out at a time; accounting controls, cpa or administrative officer’s license may be at risk In normal corporate environment. (Legal?) Work around? “Accounting” sets up unilaterally a unanticipated vendor’s account and very tardily pays the acrimonious early released “emolument pay spot occupant”. The recipient then owes vendor taxes though he/she did not choose/elect to “go into business” in order to be paid his due from Anchorage Corporation to be paid as a “vendor”. Whoever set up the spurious “vendor” account for a departing emolument spigot payee has I believe been put legally at risk and prior elected emoliment holder defrauded. The authorizing decider should be liable for defrauding the public. Hint: lawyers and cpa’s have different jargon, licenses that are not interchangeable and attach different meanings to the same words in separate profession practice and jargon. CPA’s usually know the differences; I doubt lawyers do. Recommend knowing a lawyer cannot give certified public accountancy advice sometimes. Who got herself in the weeds this time?

    • An economist in private practice should be able quickly to quantify all of the potential and real monetary losses to each like insurance premiums for clarity etc. so speedily, quickly, and unexpectedly accrued today which will dictate the next earnest fiduciary protective action. Executive session next order of business to caution against NEXT attempts at stupid fast ones and other punishments?

      • The bad business practice of (believing they can) fill two people in the same personnel control number attached to an organization chart or budget line item simultaneously, work around and commentary with possible views from “legal” practice versus licensed public accountancy practice but not from the view of of either of these two possibly well-meaning recipient(s). HINT: only one actually is paid from the singular pcn/spigot/emolument. I hope this helps a bit.

  3. Nobody could foresee this series of things coming. “Things” should be done decently and in order. We’re the things (enumerate them) done decently and in order?

    • I kinda did. Not these things in particular, but the handwriting for Anchorage was on the wall at least a decade ago.

      A major reason I pulled out and moved to Juneau. If I had to live in a semi socialist place, I wanted it to be small enough to still be somewhat accountable to the serfs.

      I always thought I’d die here. It’s my home. But the more I watch Alaska lurch leftward, the more I think about retiring to Texas or Wyoming.

    • Guess what? The seat is up for election this year and filing opens in a matter of days or weeks. Last time out, we saw abundant evidence of the sort of hollow sloganeering which runs rampant on social media. People were screaming “Constant’s gotta go!” mere weeks after he was reelected unopposed.

  4. If your read the Municipal Charter an Assembly seat was never meant to be a full time job. An Assembly member is paid a stipend but that amount was recently raised to $60,000.00 per year. That would be a good job for a new college graduate who has nothing more to offer. Gone are the days that leaders of our community served fora few years as a way to give back.

  5. Thank you, Mr. Constant, for sharing the feelings of your spirit. They are always relevant to the proceedings of our local government.

  6. How can they choose someone who does not own a house or even rent a place. But lives in campus housing. The future continues to dim, but no surprise here.

  7. Until those participating in voting reaches something over 25-30% on a routine basis and, we overturn Ranked Choice Voting next year and, we conservatives learn to use that same pathetic system as effectively as the Dems do… nothing will change. The Begich/Palin election is a prime example. The Repubs fought against the Conservatives and Peltola walked right in. If we all would have ranked them #1 and #2, Peltola wouldn’t be sitting there voting for Hakeem Jefferies for House Speaker. How painful does it have to get?

  8. Did this guy work at one time at the Alaska Center? He looks like a guy I saw there when I went to a meeting there and immediately realized I was not welcome (due to my opposition to topics this center promotes). For the record, I didn’t stay long …

      • Alaska Center for the Environment. It’s part of an overall trend of dumbing down or genericizing names to eliminate certain words which may turn people off (like “Mountain City Church”, perhaps?).

        The board of directors webpage was an interesting read. Of the six members, you have one former staffer of Geran Tarr, two former staffers of Ivy Spohnholz, and a former staffer of Jay Hammond, Tony Knowles and Fran Ulmer. Additionally, the Center’s former longtime executive director served on the FNSB Assembly prior to joining the organization’s staff.

        • Thank you, Sean.
          .
          Indeed, I have noticed that name-generalization trend for a while now, particularly here in Alaska. As witness, the incredibly stupid and utterly generic name for an auto dealership: “Alaska Sales and Service”. That name could literally be applied to any and every business in Alaska!

  9. Hey Anchorage assembly members — What was wrong with assembly candidate Harry Crawford? Why did you decide collectively NOT to add him to represent east Anchorage (where I live)? I know he has supported each of you (maybe not Suzanne?) with his time, campaign contributions, and permission to put large political signs on his rental property on Northern Lights. Is this how you pay back somebody like him? You chose an idiot somebody with NO relevant experience and who lives in UAA housing!

    You should be ashamed of yourselves, but I am certain you are not. Because you really don’t want the addition of a reasoned, experienced, logical, and ethical person who will not follow blindly any of your harebrained ideas and directives.

  10. College experience never equate work experience. Working as an apple Please don’t encourage children and grandchildren born after 2005 into going to college. Teach them trades-trade work they may enjoy for making a living,cause they are going to need it more.
    I doubt america can last long under an aging gen x and millenial leadership with a baby boomer generation that doesn’t reprimand the incoming as they pass the reigns.

    • Like one little boy his little eyes lit up as he had tractor and big truck stories being read to him. He’d probably enjoy just being a trucker, and mechanic to trucks and tractors than being pressured into college by his old 40-something parents

  11. If they really wanted to make their selection process more fair, the assembly should have used mail in ballots and mailed them out to anyone who had ever served on the assembly to be sure nobody was left out. Then, take the usual steps to validate and count the votes. Come spring, we could see the results. Seriously, though, if they really wanted someone who would represent the voters, they would allow the the person vacating the seat (only for honorable reason), to choose their replacement. Trying to make this present process look legitimate when we have an assembly majority that votes as one on everything is an insult to everything this country stands for. They will vote as the King tells them or risk loosing their subsidies. That is the way it works.

  12. Why is the video of the interview not on YouTube? The other work sessions held later on the same day as well as the actual swearing in ceremony are posted and available.

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