Anna Fairclough, swept Senate race M ousting longtime Senator Bettye Davis, the only African American in Senator in the state, from her seat. Fairclough came in with 60 percent of the votes. The final tally was Davis: 5,350 votes and Fairclough: 8,149.
Outgoing Senator Bettye Davis served in the legislature for more than a decade. Davis will be remembered for her work in the Senate on Denali Kid Care, a state-run children’s health insurance program for low-income families, as well as her efforts to improve healthcare and education. She says the one thing she regrets not achieving was long-term forward funding for Schools. Because of redistricting Davis ran in a district that included a lot of new territory. It contained less of East Anchorage, which she considered a stronghold, and added some of Eagle River, which tends to lean more conservative. Davis draws a direct connection between her loss and redistricting.
“It had everything to do with the outcome of this race. If I had my old district she wouldn’t have beat me. The redistricting was really deliberately done; deliberately done to make that a republican seat and they have succeeded,” Davis said.
Her competitor, Anna Fairclough, says she did have an advantage because of redistricting.
“I certainly had a significant advantage coming in from the Eagle River area, being paired with another district. I’ve been elected there for 14 years. I served, actually a larger number of people when I was on the Anchorage Assembly for seven years, so, the people in Eagle River, all of them knew who I was,” Fairclough said.
After representing Eagle River on the assembly, Fairclough was elected in Eagle River’s District 17 in the House. One of her accomplishments was the Alaska Children’s Trust Bill, which set up a fund in 2010 to provide grants to organizations that work to prevent child abuse and neglect. She previously worked with Standing Together Against Rape where she was the executive director. As a Senator, she has reservations about joining in a coalition with Democrats.
“I’m not willing to be part of a coalition that’s led by democrats who I’ve seen in the past hold up good discussions about the economy and about fiscal policy. So as long as we can talk about things that aren’t taboo and off the table – if Alaskans want to talk about things then we should be talking about it,” Fairclough said.
Fairclough says oil taxes must be a part of the discussion in order to work in a coalition. Besides fiscal policy, she says she will continue her efforts to prevent violence against women.