With Anchorage’s local election just around the corner, KSKA and Alaska Public media are bringing you a look at those running for mayor. As KSKA’s Zachariah Hughes reports, Amy Demboski is running on her conservative record over the last two years on the Anchorage Assembly.
Demboski says her priorities as mayor will be public safety, infrastructure and education. But all of those, she believes, begin with fiscal policy. Demboski says she got into the race, matching donors dollar for dollar with her own money, because she didn’t think there was a true conservative in the field.
“I don’t think we have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem,” she said. “So when we start looking at revenues: yes, we want to diversify the tax base, and that means we want more property on the tax roles, so redevelopment credits for development – I think that’s a great opportunity. Make more land available, I think that’s a great opportunity. But it doesn’t mean we have to tax people more.”
Demboski represents Eagle River and Chugiak in the Assembly, and sits on several different subcommittees on a wide array of topics. She’s been a vocal critic of the city’s SAP implementation during subcommittee meetings about its audit. She’s also on the Title 21 Committee that rewrote Anchorage’s land use code, which informs her views on development.
“When it takes a builder who wants to build a building complex 8 months to get it his permit, there’s a reason we have a shortage. And we have to make it easier for these people to be able to get through the bureaucratic process so they can build these affordable houses for people to live on,” Demboski said. “But, ya know, when we look at it, too, we have to have to have the discussion of the Knik-Arm Bridge. That has to be part of the discussion.”
Demboski’s background is on the business side of managing dentistry practices. And many of her proposals for local government look to the private and non-profit sectors for service improvements.
During debates over AO-37, Demboski opposed a repeal of the controversial labor law. She wants to cut the overtime budget for the police department because she feels its a symptom of inadequate staffing that ultimately costs taxpayers more than a larger force. But Demboski is skeptical of public safety plans that simply hire more police officers.
“We have to invest in the right things, so we have to make sure we have adequate staffing, too, at AFD,” she said. “And that’s something that I put forward: we have 8 more paramedics on the street today, we’re not pulling ambulances out of South Anchorage and West Anchorage to service the downtown area. So we have to be holistic in this, and we can’t look at just APD or AFD, it’s all about public safety.”
In addition to her fiscal approach, Demboski is a strong social conservative, and has garnered an endorsement from former senate candidate Joe Miller among other prominent state Republicans. She is on record as promising to vote against a potential reintroduction of proposition 5, believing the equal protection measure infringes on speech and religious rights.