2021 Anchorage Municipal Election

Builders and associates,


The Anchorage Home Builders Association (AHBA) is a nonpartisan member organization representing over 10,000 industry experts. Our mission is to help home builders provide access to the American Dream for all Alaskans through safe and attainable housing. We do this through local, state, and national advocacy and education.


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the residential construction industry safely operated as an essential business and played a key role in keeping Alaskans employed and our economy moving. Anchorage's permit fee discount and record low interest rates helped drive an uptick in local homebuilding from 2019, but after several difficult years and historic high prices, Anchorage badly needs our rate of home building to recover further.


As you have probably heard, ballots for the April 2021 Municipal election were mailed this week. The AHBA Government Affairs Committee has interviewed the top six candidates for Mayor and co-hosted a virtual Town Hall for Mayoral candidates with the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH).


There is one thing we are fairly certain about in this mayoral race, there will be a runoff election following the April 6th general election. Given the crowded field, there is no realistic path for one candidate to garner the 45% needed to win after the first vote.


We encourage you to join us in supporting a candidate who prioritizes home building and Anchorage’s economic vitality. Below is a brief snapshot of the board's impression of each of the 6 leading candidates and highlighting a bond proposition:


Dave Bronson: Dave has come closest to consolidating the right-leaning electorate in Anchorage, and along with Forrest, is in the running for the most passionate base of support. Dave has consulted with Craig Campbell regarding potential changes to planning and permitting and has made very clear that lowering barriers to home building would be a priority for his administration. There is some concern that he could struggle to significantly expand on the performances of Rebecca Logan or Amy Demboski, who lost by an average of 20% in the last two mayoral elections.


Forrest Dunbar: Forrest has been a willing ally who has cosponsored housing affordability ordinances as an Assembly member to reduce the cost and red tape necessary to build a home in Anchorage. He has met with the AHBA board and demonstrated a willingness to continue dialogue on improving the home building experience in Anchorage. He has received the strong endorsement of most local unions. There is some concern that he would take a similar approach to Mayor Berkowitz with regards to municipal staff in instances where staff become a barrier to efficient and affordable home building.


Bill Evans: Bill Evans is a fiscal conservative with background in law and labor negotiations. He seems well positioned to improve customer service and efficiency at Building Safety. Due to his centrist track record, he may be in the best position of right-leaning candidates to pick up moderate votes against the current left-leaning (and overall) frontrunner, Forrest Dunbar. There is some concern that Evans lacks the enthusiasm/base of support to make it into the runoff.


Bill Falsey: Bill Falsey is very intelligent and has received strong reviews for his handling of crisis management duties as City Manager under Ethan Berkowitz. Perhaps the strongest candidate for continuing in the current direction, though with an increased willingness to listen and achieve compromise. There is some concern that he would take a similar approach to Mayor Berkowitz with regards to municipal staff in instances where staff become a barrier to efficient and affordable home building.


George Martinez: George is an independent candidate with a background in organizing and diplomacy and the ability to forge nontraditional partnerships. He is focused on bringing the community together and leading a municipal government that will (re)gain the public trust and inspire trust in one another. There is some concern that he would take a similar approach to Mayor Berkowitz with regards to municipal staff in instances where staff become a barrier to efficient and affordable home building.


Mike Robbins: Mike has run the most energetic campaign of the right leaning candidates, which showed in his fundraising totals, second only to Forrest overall, and first in calendar year 2020. He engaged with former building official (and AHBA member) Ron Thompson to understand barriers to Anchorage Home Building very early in his candidacy. There is some concern that he could struggle to significantly expand on the performances of Rebecca Logan or Amy Demboski, who lost by an average of 20% in the last two mayoral elections.


Proposition 5: Anchorage roads and drainage bonds. Anchorage has significant infrastructure maintenance needs if we wish to continue enjoying reliable transportation and stormwater management infrastructure. Without this public investment, the city will attempt to force new development to subsidize existing developments that rely on fraying infrastructure; an approach that disincentivizes new development and cannot maintain or upgrade our roads and stormwater system sustainably anyways. This bond is an important investment in our quality of life and potential for growth.


Don't worry if you missed our Housing and Homelessness Town Hall live, you can still hear from each of the six candidates above about how they would tackle Housing at: https://fb.watch/4aj6KVbVyr/


Housing was also a major topic at the Alaska Young Republicans forum with the 3 conservative leaning candidates. If you are deciding between Bronson, Evans, or Robbins you can find our more at: https://fb.watch/4gGtRRQpeU/


Don't forget to vote!


Eric Visser

President

Anchorage Home Builders Association


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