Candidate profile: Bill Falsey says he knows what it takes to run Anchorage
We sit down with the candidate as part of our ongoing coverage of the 2021 municipal election
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Mayoral candidate Bill Falsey has worked within the Municipality of Anchorage offices since 2015. He started as a municipal attorney and eventually became the municipal manager.
“I oversaw nine departments, three utilities, two enterprises and four offices,” Falsey said. “I’m the only candidate running that has significant executive and local government experience and I want to put that to work.”
Falsey stepped down from his role as Anchorage’s municipal manager late last year so that he could focus on a run for the mayor’s office.
The primary focus for his campaign has been the years of leadership experience he has accumulated, and a proven track record of responding in disaster scenarios.
“We have some difficult days ahead of us, between now and better days ahead,” Falsey said. “But I’ve helped Anchorage through some tough times before — the earthquake, the wildfires, the pandemic.”
Falsey says he plans to get the job done by focusing on several primary goals: championing the municipality’s post-COVID economic recovery, making progress on homelessness issues and making more investments in ‘quality of life’ improvements in Anchorage.
“For me, making sure that our downtown is a thriving, clean, safe and vibrant downtown, that we are investing in our trail system — and looking ahead to some of the other big ideas on the horizon,” he said.
When it comes to the pandemic, Falsey is hopeful that the city’s current emergency orders will be on the way out when the new mayor takes office; however, he is certain that the economic fallout created by COVID-19 will be an obstacle long after the threat of the virus has subsided.
“We are still going to be dealing with this for a while and there really is some benefit to having a steady hand at the wheel,” he said.
Falsey says experience should also give him the edge as his time working for the municipality means there would be little to no need for an adjustment period, which is normally expected when a new administration takes office.
He plans to get to work by finding ways to jump start the economy and push forward crucial projects that will bring stability back to Anchorage.
“The Port of Alaska is the single biggest infrastructure project that we have to get done during the next mayor’s term or we are going to be in a bad way“ he said. “It also comes at a great time, because by the time all that is said and done, it will be a portion of a billion dollars of activity that could really help stimulate the economy.”
Falsey also wants to make progress on Anchorage’s homelessness issues. He says the municipality needs to stop relying on government funding that will dry up when the pandemic ends.
“We have 400 people living inside of the Sullivan right now, and we need a place for them to go over the long run,” he said. “We are not going back to Third and Karluk”
Falsey says Anchorage will need a humane shelter system that’s large enough to on-board many of the people being housed at the Sullivan area — but his goal is to also create a system where people are ultimately put back on their feet and into stable housing.
Falsey says the election should ultimately boil down to whichever candidate is right for the job, and not which party they belong to.
Rather than labeling himself as “left” or “right,” he plans to let his track record speak for itself.
“I’ve been at the helm, I know the ropes, I know the job. I’m here to deliver,” he said.
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