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North Anchorage candidates Daniel Volland and Stephanie Taylor talk about open assembly seat

North Anchorage candidates Daniel Volland and Stephanie Taylor talk about open assembly seat
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 7:33 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Special Municipal Election that will add a 12th member to the Anchorage Assembly is next month, and there are six candidates running for the North Anchorage seat. In this race, some people, including the candidates, feel Stephanie Taylor and Daniel Volland are the two to beat, due to their experience and connection to the community.

Taylor and Volland both feel North Anchorage is made up of a group of people from different backgrounds that creates a “diverse” community.

Due to reapportionment, Taylor’s voting district is now North Anchorage. Just a few months ago she ran against Forrest Dunbar for the East Anchorage seat. Even though she lost the race, she still feels it works to her advantage. She is an experienced campaigner and offers the voters a choice in a diverse district: a conservative-leaning voice.

“I know that there are a number of (North Anchorage voters) who have just not bothered to vote because they haven’t felt like they had a choice,” Taylor said.

Volland, who is an optometrist, feels he has the advantage. He owns a small business downtown, Ursa Optical, and he is the vice-chair of the South Addition Community Council.

“I would argue that what we need for the new District 1, North Anchorage, is somebody who is not simply going to be a rubber stamp for the priorities of the mayoral administration but somebody who wants to collaborate,” Volland said.

Additionally, he thinks he can work well with Anchorage Assembly Member Christopher Constant, who is liberal-leaning like Volland.

“He is a firebrand. We know that. He knows that, but we have been able to partner really well when it comes to working on things with the community council,” Volland said.

Taylor, who has 30 years of experience volunteering and working for a variety of political campaigns, feels she can also work well with Constant, and possibly create a bridge between him and Mayor Dave Bronson. The mayor’s office and Constant have had their differences in the past and currently.

”Honestly there is nobody that everyone agrees with all the time, my husband and I don’t agree on everything,” Taylor said. “I may have a different approach but it is all for the better of Anchorage. We want to see safe streets. We want to see a good economy. We want to see a community effort. There is a lot of division in Anchorage and that is not healthy and it’s not good for anybody.”

Both see homelessness and downtown development as things they would like to improve in North Anchorage, but there are some differences.

“I also think we need continued investment in mental health in Anchorage, protecting funding for AFD’s mobile crisis team,” Volland said.

He also added he would like to address workforce development, affordable housing, transportation, child care and crime. Volland said he is also a supporter of unions.

Taylor added she would like to address the quality of education in schools, safe streets, transportation and bringing more balance to the assembly. She is also concerned about voter integrity.

“Mail-in elections. People don’t like them. They are suspect. People do not have confidence in the mail-in elections. They take too long. They cost too much money and there is not enough transparency,” Taylor said.

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.

On Friday, Alaska’s News Source will be previewing candidates Tasha Hotch and Rob Forbes.

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