North Anchorage candidates Robin Phillips and Cliff Baker talk about open assembly seat
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -The Special Municipal Election for the seat that will add a 12th member to Anchorage Assembly is next month.
There are six people are running for the open seat. Alaska’s News Source conducted interviews on Wednesday with two of of the six candidates, Robin Phillips and Cliff Baker. Neither has held an elected office before, but both feel they have something valuable to offer the voters and residents of North Anchorage.
Russian Jack resident Robin Phillips works for the Ted Stevens Foundation and has a background in finance. She said the reason she wanted to run for the open assembly seat is because when she looked at the new voting district map, she realized she had a strong connection to numerous communities in North Anchorage. She feels knows the people better than anyone running in the race.
“I was born in the Anchorage community hospital, which is right out of downtown. I grew up in Spenard and went to elementary school there. I have done community work in Fairview, and in Mountain View, and even up here in Government Hill,” Phillips said.
North Anchorage resident Cliff Baker said he wanted to run for the assembly seat because he now has time on hands to get involved. He is a retired surveyor for the Department of Natural Resources.
“I feel that if you like your profession, if you like your community, if you enjoy that, that you owe it to give back and so that is what I am trying to do,” Baker said.
Additionally, Baker considers himself a middle of the road moderate. Baker feels like he is the best candidate in the race because he doesn’t consider himself a politician. He also said that he has a quality that he would like to share with the assembly members.
“It appears we don’t have enough common sense, it seems we have a dysfunctioning going on and I want to try to bridge that,” Baker said.
Phillips considers herself a fiscal conservative and social moderate. She has never held an elected office before but she feels she understands politics well. Her mother Gail Phillips was Speaker of the House for two terms in the Alaska Legislature, representing Homer. Phillips would like to share with the assembly the lesson she learned from her mother.
“The politics that are successful are the ones that can work with everybody,” Phillips said. “You might not agree with everybody, and you may have very strong opinions one way or another, but you need to be able to work with everybody.”
In recent assembly meetings, some residents and voters have expressed that they would like to see another conservative voice on the assembly. Right now there are three conservative-leaning voices: Jamie Allard, Randy Sulte and Kevin Cross.
“I am probably not that conservative voice,” Baker said. “But I am not real liberal either. I think being able to address both sides and work both sides I think is an advantage.”
Phillips added everyone in Anchorage wants to make sure the city is doing the best they can for them.
“That means being really good stewards of the money, of the taxes, of the safety, of the well being,” Phillips said. “To do that you have to have people that are willing to work with both sides.”
Phillips said from now until election day she plans on making a lot of phone calls and doing a lot of door knocking to get her name and her message out to the voters. She plans on focusing on the communities of Spenard, North Midtown and East Anchorage
“I am comfortable up here on Government Hill,” Phillips said.
Baker said he plans to do some door knocking of his own
“Probably in the afternoons almost everyday,” Baker said. “Since I am retired I have lots of time.”
Baker and Phillips both said they see homeless and transportation as issues plaguing downtown that they would like to address if elected.
The Special Municipal Election is on June 21, and mail-in ballots will be mailed to qualified North Anchorage voters no later than 21 days before election day
Later this week, Alaska’s News Source will also preview candidates Stephanie Taylor, Daniel Volland, Tasha Hotch, and Rob Forbes.
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