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2 challengers face incumbent Dunbar for East Anchorage Assembly seat

There are three candidates running in the Anchorage Assembly District #5 race, and the challengers are trying to prevent the incumbent from getting elected to a
Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 8:08 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - There are three candidates running in the Anchorage Assembly District 5 race, and the two challengers are trying to prevent the incumbent from getting elected to a third term.

Assembly member Forrest Dunbar is being challenged by Christopher Hall and Stephanie Taylor for the East Anchorage seat, but Dunbar questions if his challengers truly understand the needs of East Anchorage residents and if they are prepared.

In the District 5 race, all the candidates pretty much agree that homelessness, affordable housing and public safety are issues that need to be addressed in East Anchorage, but constitutionalist candidate Christopher Hall feels it’s time for change.

”Mostly I would consider myself blowback for the actions of the assembly for the course of the last little bit of this pandemic,” Hall said. “And the reason why is because there are so many people that are angry about the things that they have done”

Conservative candidate Stephanie Taylor, who has lived in East Anchorage for more than 30 years, agrees.

”The lockdowns, and the mandates, and division that that created. I think it really decimated our city in a lot of ways,” said Taylor. “We lost hundreds of businesses.”

However, Dunbar wonders if his opponents are trying to make national issues East Anchorage problems, and whether they have residents’ best interests in mind. For instance, Taylor said she is troubled by Anchorage’s mail-in election system.

”I’ve talked to a lot of seniors when I’m out door knocking, and people with mobility challenges, and they really appreciate vote by mail,” Dunbar said. “The ability to have it on their kitchen counter.”

Taylor also feels the assembly is spending too much money.

“We’ve got to be able to come up with a way to prioritize better, find efficiencies — something,” Taylor said. “That’s part of what the assembly needs, is a different approach. A different perspective.”

Dunbar countered that the assembly had relatively little disagreement on the budget this year. He said of the $540 million budget, they disagreed on $5 million of it.

″The majority of what the municipality does, it’s basics. It’s police, fire, road maintenance,” Dunbar said. “Right there that’s more than 60% of our budget. And when I’m out talking to constituents, I don’t hear they want fewer police or less fire protection or, you know, fewer snowplows.”

Taylor and Dunbar are not only battling ideas but also who can post more signs across East Anchorage. Hall doesn’t have a single sign posted and says he was not concerned.

“This is a city council position,” he said. “I’m not running for governor.”

But, he might be rethinking that decision.

“... he amount of interest in this (race) has absolutely surprised me,” Hall said.

There are contested races in assembly Districts 2, 3 ,4, 5 and 6. Election Day is April 5.

The new voting district map recently approved by the assembly during its reapportionment process will go into effect for elections that take place after April 2022.

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