Municipal Election 2020
On April 7th, Anchorage voters will elect 6 Assembly members, 2 School Board members,
and decide whether 10 initiatives, 2 amendments and a new ordinance will be adopted.
Sol de Medianoche sent the following questionnaire to all candidates for Assembly.
Of 14 questionnaires submitted, only 3 candidates answered. We share their answers here.
DISTRICT 4 - MIDTOWN
What are your plans to stabilize the city budget?
The biggest threat facing the Municipality’s budget is the lack of confidence in the fiscal situation of the State of Alaska. That will trickle down to every district and individual within the Municipality. We’ve already seen this with the state backing out on its promise to fund school bond debt reimbursement, which will cause an increase of $150 in property taxes for the average homeowner. Although the Municipality has kept its AAA credit rating, if the state is unable to get its fiscal house in order, business confidence will plunge, causing decreased investment throughout the state. Even more, local governments will be forced to take on greater responsibilities usually done by the state, like plowing and law enforcement. This is, by and large, the biggest issue facing Midtown, the Municipality, and all of Alaska. I will continue to be a leader in raising my voice to Juneau about the impacts they are having on the rest of the state.
2. HEALTH CARE
How should the Public Health Department plan to handle the Coronavirus pandemic?
The Anchorage Health Department should continue doing what it is doing right now – informing the public, working with partners from across the state to prepare, increasing staffing, translating informative materials into various languages, increasing vigilance and monitoring, and showing everyone how Alaskans handle pandemic’s like COVID-19. We remain calm and help each other out.
What is your approach to working and serving the different minority groups in our community?
As a person of color myself and a member of the Latinx community, my approach has always been to listen first. It is so important to be able to listen and understand an experience that you never lived. After listening, comes learning. Nowadays, you can learn all you need on the internet, so there is no excuse for ignorance. Once you’ve listened and learned, then comes taking action to help the people. My approach to this last critical step is to let communities of color lead. Unless I am a member of the community I’m trying to help, I should be asking that community for solutions and helping clear roadblocks for the solutions they prefer for their problems, not the other way around. This approach empowers and emboldens a community and allows them to heal themselves.
Contact Info: (907) 764-0841
Term Expires: 2020
BA Liberal Studies, Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage
DISTRICT 6 - SOUTH ANCHORAGE
What are your plans to stabilize the city budget?The biggest issue facing the MOA is the state fiscal crisis as it continues to shake business and consumer confidence and threatens economic recovery as well as services as basic as streetlights on major roads. Just saying “cut the budget” is naïve and irresponsible. Those who are saying “just cut the city budget” have not paid attention to what we’ve been doing. For every police officer we have hired, we have cut another position from the budget. We have honored the tax cap, and any tax increase that has happened, has happened because it went to the ballot and voters approved it. We need to agree on ways to become more self-reliant because we can’t count on the state to meet its traditional obligations.
If state support for services continues to decline, we will be forced to make tough decisions about the quality of life we want for Anchorage. How important are road projects and sidewalks, streetlights on major roads, public health and safety, and schools? If the time comes that we are forced to diversify our tax base, it will be the voters who make that decision.
2. HEALTH CARE
How should the Public Health Department plan to handle the Coronavirus pandemic?The Municipality of Anchorage is taking this situation very seriously. Most important will be clear communication with all citizens and partners. The Anchorage Health Department has created a webpage to keep residents informed with the most up to date news on the status in Alaska.
There is also a helpful guide for the public that was created in Spanish:
What is your approach to working and serving the different minority groups in our community?Anchorage’s cultural diversity is part of what makes this such a wonderful place to live. I work hard to be a good listener and to make myself available to all my constituents. I’ve also worked hard to promote and celebrate diversity as a member of the Anchorage Assembly.
Contact Info: (907) 351-7199
Term Expires: 2020
Education: BA, University of Portland; MA, Purdue University
What are your plans to stabilize the city budget?This current assembly has done an amazing job of consistently putting out a balanced budget. In addition to balancing their current budget, the proposed alcohol tax that will be on the ballot this April has funds set aside specifically to address assembly priorities. I will be voting yes on the proposed alcohol tax. The funds go specifically to help those suffering from mental illness, to provide relief for victims of sexual assault, to help people with the struggle of addiction and alcoholism, and to provide for more first responders. I hope to join this team and continue to provide a balanced budget that considers the needs of all the people of the municipality of Anchorage.
2. HEALTH CARE
How should the Public Health Department plan to handle the Coronavirus pandemic?As the public health department plans to handle the Coronavirus threat, it’s important that we listen to medical experts and scientists. We must not panic. The state’s lead medical officers tell us the most important steps we can take are to mind our personal hygiene and wash our hands. Avoiding large groups or at-risk populations if there’s a chance that you are sick is an incredibly important step to take. With that said, if we see an outbreak of coronavirus in the municipality of Anchorage, I want to reiterate how important it is that we listen to scientists and medical professionals. It may mean some postponed events, cancelled school days, or more people working from home. But I am confident in the abilities of our Public Health Department.
What is your approach to working and serving the different minority groups in our community? If elected to represent District 2 (Chugiak/Eagle River/JBER/North East Anchorage), it will be incredibly important for me to build a relationship with the Native Village of Eklutna. It is essential to me that the voice of the first people of my district is heard and represented in the Municipality. I also want to make certain that any decisions that will affect a specific community has been made with input from people within that community.
Term Expires: 2020