Candidates are competing for six seats on the Anchorage Assembly.
The Assembly has been deeply divided this past year and faced many challenges – a controversial labor law, a rewrite of Title 21, and a troubled port project, to name a few. And the challenges will continue in 2014.
In Assembly District 1 – Seat B – representing Downtown Anchorage, two-term Assembly member Patrick Flynn is the incumbent. Flynn helps manage an environmental engineering company and says he is a bridge builder who gets things done.
“Some of the specifics – we’ve worked on some housing issues to try and address some of the concerns about workforce housing,” Flynn said. “We’ve worked on some neighborhood issues related to the concentration of alcohol sales.”
Mark Martinson is challenging Flynn. He is a chemistry instructor at UAA and wants a focus on energy.
“I’d like to see some more energy conservation construction methods and some better mass transit,” Martinson said. “I think it should be possible for people in Anchorage to survive in this city without a car.”
In Assembly District 2 -Seat C – Representing Chugiak/Eagle River, two-term Assembly member Bill Starr is the incumbent. He runs a development company and is proud of his work on Title 21.
“And it will provide us some flexibility in the type of roads that are going to be different and a little more characteristic of our area – roads and signs and lighting all sort of fits in there,” he said.
Sharon Gibbons is challenging Starr. She serves on the Eagle River Community Council.
“The public should vote for me because I’m accessible, I’m approachable. I’m a mom. That always helps in every situation,” Gibbons said. “I know what it takes to be responsible – a responsible budget. I’m hard working. I appreciate fiscal responsibility and will advocate for that.”
In Assembly District 3 – Seat E – representing West Anchorage, Tim Steele is the incumbent. He won the seat just a year ago after Harriett Drummond was elected to the State House. Steele has worked for NOAA and served on the Anchorage School Board. He’s proud of his budget work.
“One of them is to deal with flooding at Chester Creek and Arctic where three of the last five years peoples’ houses have had water in them,” Steele said. “And we were gonna do another study and I said well, go ahead and do the study but let’s the construction money also and see if we can’t get it done.”
Phil Isley, who served in the Army National Guard and owns a small business, is running against Steele. He wants fiscal reform.
“I have better things to do but I need to do this now or thing things I used to be able to do I won’t be able to do,” Isley said.
In Assembly District 4 – Seat G – representing midtown, two-term Assembly member and former Assembly Budget Director Elvi Gray-Jackson is running unchallenged.
In Assembly District 5 3-year Assembly member Adam Trombley is the incumbent. He works selling chemicals for an oil field service company. He says he’s kept his word.
“I promised I’d do three things: create jobs, keep property taxes down, and create a community plan for East Anchorage,” Trombley said. “Three years later I’ve accomplished all three of those things.”
Former state legislator Pete Petersen is challenging Trombley. He says the Assembly has gone astray with a controversial labor ordinance called A0-37 and
he can help.
“The Assembly voted to stop taking testimony and cut people off with still a long line of people over 100 still waiting to give their opinions on the at bill,” Petersen said. “I thought that was a perfect example of bad government because no matter what level of elected official you are part of your job is to listen to the people you work for.”
Mao Tosi is also challenging Trombley. A former NFL player, manager of the Northway Mall and founder of the non-profit AK Pride, Tosi says he is in a unique position to help the city adapt as it grows and changes.
“It’s a need in a city that’s continuing to grow in diversity and variety. Creating safer neighborhoods is kind of a focus for me and lowering crime,” Tosi said. “So connecting with many more diverse communities to empower them to make the difference in their communities is something that I look forward to doing.”
In Assembly District 6 – Seat K – South Anchorage, Chris Birch is terming out.
Attorney Bill Evans who has worked on municipal boards and commissions is running for the seat.
“My main pitch is that I’m in favor of protecting the tax payer. I’m fiscally conservative,” Evans said. “I believe that municipal government’s main obligation is to make sure that everybody’s taxes are spent in the most efficient and economical way.”
Retired police officer Pete Nolan is also running for the seat. He’s served his community council and municipal advisory boards and says he can help cut costs.
“We’re spending too much, so we need to look at that and get control of that because property taxes are going up,” Nolan said. “And the second is housing. That’s a big issue right now. Where do people live, workforce housing, entry-level housing.”
Retired Air Force officer Bruce Dougherty is also vying for the seat and says his leadership experience could help.
“Now I want to take the 28 years of experience and put it to work for the people of South Anchorage,” Dougherty said. “I’d like to bring back a sense of balance to the Assembly.”
Municipal Election Day is April 1.