Anchorage’s newly re-elected mayor laid out priorities for his second three-year term Friday, the day after his main challenger in this year’s vote-by-mail elections conceded the race to him.

Berkowitz, a former Democratic state representative, sat down with KTVA’s Lauren Maxwell for a Friday interview at City Hall.

 
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Berkowitz described his goals as a balance between navigating budget concerns and improving life in the city, saying he plans to "buffer Anchorage's budget and the Anchorage economy from what's happening in Juneau and across the state."

"I think the more we can be independent and self-sufficient, the more we can make this a vibrant economy," Berkowitz said. "But we're also going to look for ways to make Anchorage a better place to live; it's not just in terms of safety but also in terms of enhancing the cultural vitality here. People need to want to live here -- they need to love living here -- and the more we make Anchorage a great city, the more that's going to happen."

More than 70,000 votes had been counted Thursday evening from the roughly 80,000 received to date, according to municipal election results. Election officials say that total represents a record-breaking turnout in the municipality, which concluded its first-ever election not held at traditional polling places on Tuesday.

Rebecca Logan, who garnered nearly 37 percent of the vote but trailed Berkowitz’s 58 percent lead by about 13,000 votes as of Thursday night, told voters in a Facebook post that “I wish him the best in his second term.”

Logan, a GOP-backed contender who ran on a “Let’s Get Back to Basics” platform, had emphasized a get-tough stance on crime as well as her opposition to raising taxes on Anchorage businesses.

Berkowitz ran on his record, citing rises on his watch in the ranks of sworn Anchorage police officers and anticipated revenue from the $1 billion sale of Municipal Light & Power to Chugach Electric, a transaction voters approved on the same ballot by a 20,000-vote margin as they re-elected him.

Much of Berkowitz's strategy on crime was linked to expanding the police department, he said.

"We've got a number of officers who are in various stages of training," Berkowitz said. "Once we can get to the point where we reach about [450 officers], we're going to be deploying them in different ways to increase public safety and we're excited about what that means."

The mayor also offered a message of political inclusion Friday, asking people to come together despite a polarized political stage.

"I think in this age of acrimony, of different political persuasions, we need to find the things we can agree on," Berkowitz said. "We know how to disagree with people in an agreeable way; we're going to see them when we're shopping at Carrs or Costco, or when we're walking down the street, and we need to act in an agreeable way."

Lauren Maxwell contributed information to this story.

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.

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