Residents Hear from Last-Minute Assembly Write-in Candidate
At AFACT forum, Nick Moe kicks off write-in candidacy against Assembly Chair Ernie Hall
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage Assembly forum took an exciting turn when a last minute write-in candidate asked to be allowed on the candidate panel. Just before the Anchorage Faith and Community Together forum, 27-year-old Nick Moe announced he wanted to challenge Assembly Chair Ernie Hall for Assembly Seat D in West Anchorage. He said the catalyst was the recent decision by the assembly to terminate public commentary on a measure that would change the way unions negotiate with the city. "Really, the breaking point for me was when Ernie Hall for the first time in assembly history refused to allow people to speak on an issue in front of the assembly."
Anchorage resident John Weddleton said winning that kind of campaign could be a challenge. "He is kinda climbing a tall mountain trying to get in as a write-in, but it worked recently in a really tough election... So but it worked recently"
Ernie Hall, who was previously uncontested, had scheduling conflicts that didn't allow him to be at the forum. The moderator had the 100 or so residents vote on whether to allow Moe on the panel. The vote was almost unanimously in favor.
This sort of last minute turn-of-event is what makes local politics exciting, attendees said. According to voter Larry Graham local politics are "where the action is."
AFACT is comprised of over a dozen local churches. Its aim is to address issues in the community. The organization's members went door to door interviewing citizens on issues important to them, and from those interviews, they wrote three questions around the issues of senior transportation, children's recreation and public safety.
It wasn't brought up by AFACT, but the candidates mentioned AO-37, the labor ordinance, several times. It came up in the context of public safety. A few candidates were concerned that changing how the police unions negotiate with the city could mean officers would leave for other jobs. Another candidate said if they're truly dedicated to public service, officers will stay with the city.
Though municipal election turnout is usually very low, Beverly Churchill said for her, it's essential, "I just feel to be a participating citizen is so important. That is what our democracy is founded on."
The people at the forum said it doesn't take many of them to make a difference in their community.
"That's where you can really have a big impact on what goes on as far as I'm concerned," Graham said.
To view all of the candidates (except Nick Moe) in the April 2 municipal election, click here.