interview with Ethan Berkowitz, Anchorage’s mayor
In the April 3 municipal election, Ethan Berkowitz was reelected as Anchorage’s Mayor with 56 percent of the vote.
At the beginning of his second term at the head of the municipality, Berkowitz confronts great challenges. Among them are providing the municipality with greater security and building alliances that will make solutions possible. As Anchorage is an ethnically and culturally diverse city, Berkowitz also faces the challenge of building increasingly effective bridges between the government and the different communities.
How will you address the security problem that Anchorage is living through?
The police still have to grow a little bit. As they do it, we can work closer to the community, and that will be helpful to reduce crime. But we also have to work against the drug addiction that exists in Anchorage. We are trying to expand the treatment facilities that are available. We are going to work with the State, the private sector, and the non-profits. It might take a while for some of that to happen. It is a slow process. However, we are working hard to go as quickly as possible.
Anchorage is famous for being a very diverse city, where inclusion is an every day challenge. However, there was only a small gap between those who supported and those who rejected Proposition 1.
How do we—as a community—address this problem?
Think about it this way: When the issue was on the ballot a couple of years ago, the voting went the other way. So it looks like a significant change.
We all have to fight against hate and discrimination. We all have to practice the values that we believe in. Democracy is not a spectator sport. We cannot take things for granted. Progress really depends on actions and activity.
During my next term in office, we will continue to fight against hate and discrimination. I think that there will be more allies as we go ahead, because we are on the right side of history.
The responsibility of people who have a different view is to come forward and to get engaged, to participate.
What is your perception of the Hispanic community?
The Hispanic community is very diverse. People from all over the Spanish-speaking world have come to live in Anchorage. Everyone within the Hispanic community—no matter where they come from—is an important part of Anchorage.