The race is on for Anchorage’s next mayor, and it’s expected to be close. Twelve candidates have filed to take Mayor Dan Sullivan’s place after the April 7 Municipal Election.

Some of the contenders have the advantage of an established public profile; others are not so well known. Former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell decided not to run but says he’ll be watching the campaign closely.

“I think it’s very important that the next Mayor of Anchorage be actively involved in the state’s economy and also find ways to see that economic development help our tax base, so it’s not just homeowners who are paying most of the bill,” said Treadwell, who has joined the private equity firm Pt Capital LLC.

Treadwell said his entrance into the race might have diluted the conservative side, referring to candidate and Anchorage Assembly member Amy Demboski.

With the potential backing from a number of unions, Mead Treadwell predicts former Democratic state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz to do well.

Andrew Halcro, former president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, has also thrown his hat into the ring. With experience in public service as a state house representative, Halcro has already spoken out on the need to address public safety concerns, which will be one of the main campaign issues in this election.

“The next mayor has to take the limited resources we have got and try to make policing that much more affective,” Treadwell said, citing the many changes the muni is about to see, like the legalization of marijuana. “But we are pretty lucky. I like to say that I live in a town that you can get a policeman or a fireman faster than you can get a pizza. And that doesn’t happen every place in America, and we need to back up our police.”

Also well versed in public service is attorney Dan Coffey, a former Assembly member. Treadwell says Dan is one of the front-runners because of his strong connections in the community and support from some former mayors.

Treadwell says the next mayor has to be ready to deal with tight economic times but not let the important things like education fall behind.

He also predicts the state will be looking to cities and towns to take on more of the cost of services.

“The Legislature has to look carefully at how much money they give municipalities,” Treadwell said. “First, they should remember they’ve got the best tax base of any of us in the state, so I think they should keep up revenue sharing, but that could see reductions along with everything else.”

Other Anchorage mayoral hopefuls include Paul Bauer, Lance Ahern, Spencer Halgren, Samuel Joseph Speziale III, Christopher Jamison, Timothy Huit, Dustin Darden and Jacob Seth Kern.

The last day to register to vote is March 8. Early and absentee voting begins March 23.

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