Recall election for Anchorage Assembly member Zaletel set for Oct. 26

a person speaks into a microphone
Meg Zaletel at an Anchorage Assembly’s Committee on Housing and Homelessness meeting in June 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Voters in Midtown Anchorage will decide next month whether to recall Anchorage Assembly member Meg Zaletel. 

Organizers behind the recall argue that Zaletel disobeyed a municipal health mandate when she participated in an Assembly meeting in August 2020. The mandate prohibited indoor gatherings of more than 15 people.

“They were treating it very seriously by having municipal code enforcers go around to businesses and fine them $300 a day for those very same infractions,” said Russell Biggs, who organized the petition to recall Zaletel. “Then the Assembly members ought to treat it seriously, too.”

When asked about the recall effort, Zaletel described it as a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Biggs and other recall organizers have tried for months to unseat Zaletel. The group put forward two recall petitions to the municipality, which were both denied. Recall organizers then sued the municipality, and the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that one of the petitions could move forward

The Assembly voted at a special meeting in late August to set Oct. 26 as the date for the recall election. 

According to state law, if Zaletel is recalled, her seat would become vacant as soon as the election results are certified. After that, the Assembly would appoint someone to fill her seat until the next regular election, scheduled for April 3.

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Zaletel was first elected to her seat in 2019 and is up for reelection in April, should she survive the recall. 

Biggs organized a similar recall effort to unseat Assembly member Felix Rivera who, like Zaletel, represents Midtown Anchorage. Midtown voters decided against recalling Rivera last April.

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Wesley is a reporter for Alaska Public Media, covering primarily city government and Anchorage life. He previously worked at Alaska Public Media as a web editor, producer and education reporter before a two-year stint in Kotzebue, AK as News Director for KOTZ-AM.

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