West Anchorage needs a new assembly member; here’s who wants the job
Summer in Alaska isn't typically known as campaign season, but not this year.
West Anchorage Assemblyman Tim Steele resigned from the job earlier this month for health reasons.
When something like that happens, it triggers a special election.
There's a vacant seat on the Anchorage Assembly that needs to be filled, and on Tuesday, the first day hopeful candidates were allowed to file for office, three hopefuls officially joined the race.
The North Star Community Council President, Sam Moore, was the first to launch a campaign to fill the vacant after Steele stepped down.
He hopes his background as an accountant will help him get votes.
“I think it would be refreshing to have someone on the assembly that understands accounting and who can actually dive into the numbers-- and that's something I’d like to bring accountability to,” Moore said.
Moore has some competition from another community council president. Nikki Rose lives in Sand Lake and filed for office the same day.
She’s a campaign manager who volunteers on the assembly's committee on homelessness and says she's passionate about public safety.
“One of the things I have been working on is getting tough on crime, because crime has been getting tough on us,” Rose said. “We need somebody on the assembly with a voice to represent west Anchorage, and we need to get our small businesses the support they need and our families the support they need.”
Also filing on Tuesday was Austin Quinn-Davidson, a lawyer with the Great Alaska Land Trust, who has experience with the muni's Budget Advisory Commission.
She says she knows how to get the job done and is looking to the future.
“We love Anchorage, we love the parks and trails, we love the diverse communities, but there are a lot of important decisions coming up and thinking about small businesses and innovation and how to draw people here with technical expertise and I'm just excited to get to work on those issues,” Quinn-Davidson said.
Perennial mayoral candidate Dustin Darden also threw his hat in the ring for the open Assembly seat Tuesday afternoon. Darden has also applied to be the appointed interim assembly member.
Other candidates interested in running for the west Anchorage assembly seat have until July 3 to file for office.
Ballots in the special vote-by-mail election will be mailed to District 3 residents on July 17. You may enter your address here to find out what assembly district you live in. Voters will have until Election Day, August 7, to fill them out and return them in one of three ways. They may be returned by mail, placed in one of several secure dropboxes located in the district, or returned to the one accessible vote center. The dropbox locations are yet to be determined. The accessible vote center will be located inside the Municipality of Anchorage Election Center at 619 E Ship Creek Ave. Dropboxes will be locked, and the accessible vote center closed, at 8:00 p.m. on August 7. If a voter chooses to return the ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before August 7. In that case, the ballot must be received by the Municipal Clerk by noon August 24.
In the meantime, the rest of the Anchorage Assembly will decide who will temporarily fill the vacant seat.
Seven people put their names up for consideration. Whoever is appointed will serve from July 12 until August 28.
KTVA asked each to send us a picture and a brief statement about why they’d like to be the interim assembly member. Their responses have not been edited.
Let me emphasize the appeal of the INTERIM nature of this position. As a debate coach and civics educator I love reading, researching, and teaching students about politics. However, I have no interest in making a career out of politics and will not be running for the full time position as it would conflict with my current profession throughout the school year. Rather once I knew that the interim position would conclude in late August, I saw the potential short-term appointment to a nonpartisan seat of local government as an opportunity to serve my community as a 'virtuous and disinterested citizen leader', as inspired by the book An Education For Our Time.
I have lived over 40 years in West Anchorage. My two daughters were raised here and graduated from West High. With only three Assembly meetings, the interim appointee must be able to "hit the ground running".I served the Assembly for six recent years as aide to West Anchorage Assembly member Ernie Hall. Issues that were top priority for the Assembly then are still today's current issues:
• Stop thefts of cars, bikes, mail and whatever else isn't nailed down.
• Get control of Anchorage's opioid drug epidemic.
• Take back our parks and trails from criminal campers.
• Give police and courts the tools they need to stop playing "catch and release" with criminals.
• Rejuvenate the older neighborhoods of West Anchorage.
• Keep the Paradise Palm tree in Spenard.
I submitted my name for the interim Assembly seat because of my experience serving two terms on the Assembly and as Chairman for a year. I have lived in Spenard and Turnagain most of my life, kept up on the issues and know I could bring consistency and history to the Assembly until the election of a permanent member.
I was born and raised here in Anchorage, Alaska, living the majority of my time in West Anchorage. I understand the issues facing Anchorage in 2018 and I hope to make a positive impact for my community even if the interim seat is only a month long. I hope to address the rising crime levels, as I have had multiple friend’s cars stolen recently. Also, as a younger member of the community, I am passionate about housing affordability in the Anchorage bowl and am excited about the upcoming Accessory Dwelling Unit.
"I'm doing this because I like the people."
KTVA reached also reached out to Nick Danger and David Darden, but our request were unanswered.
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