Will all Anchorage Assembly members have to run for their seats in 2022? A big 'maybe' - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Will all Anchorage Assembly members have to run for their seats in 2022? A big ‘maybe’

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The April, 2022 Anchorage Municipal ballot could be a barn-burner.

The Anchorage Municipal Charter says that after the state redistricting process is complete and the final report is issued, if the Anchorage Assembly determines that Assembly seats are malapportioned, it must reapportion itself within five months.

In addition to the redistricting process that must occur, Anchorage voters accepted a proposal by Assemblyman Chris Constant to add a 12th Assembly seat, which will be located in downtown Anchorage. That alone forces changes to some of the 11 existing districts, happening the same time the decennial redrawing of lines happens; there is a legal requirement for equal representation.

Although still unclear, it appears that all seats on the Anchorage Assembly could be up for reelection as a consequence, if the Assembly gets its work done. That’s a big “if.”

Some seats were already set to be on the ballot in April, 2022:

  • District 2, Eagle River, (Crystal Kennedy, incumbent)
  • District 3, West Anchorage, (Kameron Perez-Verdia incumbent)
  • District 4, Midtown, (Meg Zalatel, incumbent)
  • District 5, East Anchorage, (Forrest Dunbar, incumbent)
  • District 6, South Anchorage, (John Weddleton, incumbent)

As the Assembly begins its work on redistricting and wedging in the 12th seat, the changes put District 1, Downtown, represented now only by Chris Constant, into the mix, which could have a domino effect in the West Anchorage seats, and that could reverberate through to Midtown and South Anchorage.

If all the seats end up on the ballot, some would be for full their usual three-year terms, while others would be partial terms, requiring those serving to run again in 2023, if they chose to continue in public office.

The Assembly has a work session scheduled for June 25 from 11 am to noon to continue preparing for the realignment of Anchorage Assembly districts. Their redistricting schedule for the year depends on when the federal Census Bureau releases its data to the State Redistricting Board. In years past, that would have been done by this past April, but with the pandemic, the work has been delayed and now the data is not expected until the end of August.

The delay may mean the State Redistricting Board won’t finalize its work until November, casting uncertainty among both incumbents and those who may wish to run for the Assembly. Generally, those running in April would want to start their door-knocking in the previous summer, because winter campaigning is a slog.

It could be argued that the Assembly simply doesn’t have time to reapportion Anchorage in time for the April election. The charter gives them one month to decide if reapportionment is needed and five months to get develop the plan, which at this point puts them past the April, 2022, if they end up in boundary disputes among themselves, almost a certainty.

With so much uncertainty about whether all 12 seats will be up for grabs in 2022, it makes sense that Eagle River Assemblywoman Jamie Allard has already filed a letter of intent to run for reelection, even though her seat is technically not open until 2023. She’s apparently betting that the Assembly will be able to get its work done on reapportionment, and that the April 2022 ballot will be epic.

In addition to Allard, Midtown’s Meg Zaletel has filed for reelection, and Randy Sulte has filed as a candidate for the South Anchorage District 6 seat held by John Weddleton. Rachel Ries has filed a letter of intent to run for Assembly District 6.

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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 comments

  • A group of US Constitution supporters working temporarily for us as servants rather than desiring to serve international globalists or former California goals would be a wonderful improvement.

  • It’s sad but funny our school board has no districting rules and it shows as our schools are horrible. Maybe we should look at sorting that mess out too, as being worst in the country. It is shameful with the amount of money we taxpayers are forced to donate.

  • The asssembly ignored the Anchorage Municipal Charter and didn’t hold a mayoral election in a timely fashion, so I wouldn’t hold my breath this time………..

  • @ Marlin Savage – I concur completely. The majority of the (liberal) assembly members have proven time and again that they will always put their best interests and political expediency above all else and display blatant disregard for what is morale, ethical, correct, etc. etc. by the applicable governing law(s) or statute(s).

  • If only we could be so lucky. If only.
    .
    Seriously, if 2020 demonstrated anything to the taxpayers at large, it was that the Assembly has reneged on their duty to represent the taxpayers and citizens of the Municipality. Instead, they insisted on continuing a declaration of emergency way past the time it was needed, installing an acting mayor based on her sexual preference, not her accomplishments, and putting the wants of the homeless above the needs of the taxpayers.
    .
    The time is long past for representatives that are not seeking office because they want to accomplish their pet projects. It is time for representatives that are actually interested in representing the citizens of the city.

  • In our now ancient Anchorage mythologies we, typically, elect temporary representatives who agree to receive a pleasant stipend to present the views of the city geographic area on topics on the agenda. West Anchorage has no such person. Those who reneged on this obligation quit his/her responsibilities and no such stipend should be forthcoming. When one becomes incapacitated (due to fear or offered a more highly valued stipend) one should be replaced by the area. West side would like to call for an agenda item of replacing the non-existent presenter of our ideas. A net result is that the west side of Anchorage is completely uninformed of expensive, disagreeable items placed outside of our knowledge on the weekly agenda. This is a loss of our form of government guaranteed by the us constitution, Alaska constitution and anchorage charter which have been kicked out. The clerk’s office is still open by appointment. Unacceptable breach of contract. I do no consent to these broken contracts and I want immediate urgent remedy legislatively. What and where is the quarantine facility located in Anchorage. We need to TALK about that face to face. I do not believe Anchorage “knows” anything, at all, about “that”. That’s not the chartered way we do business here. Bring the building safety people to this meeting.

  • It’s going to take ropes… lots of ropes, to hold me back on Election Day. I can’t wait to vote the arrogant bench warmers off the Assembly.

    We the people instruct You the Assembly, how to do your jobs. And when you ignore us, you’re fired. It’s as simple as that.

    It will be especially refreshing to watch Chris “Racism Baked Into Our Community” Constant pack his things.

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