Minister challenges former mayoral special assistant for Assembly seat

The political newcomer is competing against a former mayoral candidate to represent East Anchorage
An ordained minister and volunteer state chaplain challenges a former special assistant to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz for Anchorage's District 5, Seat I seat.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 3:33 PM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 4:06 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Two candidates are running to fill the Anchorage Assembly seat vacated by the outgoing Pete Petersen.

The District 5, Seat I, position represents East Anchorage. Petersen reached his term limits for the seat having served three 3-year terms on the Assembly.

Registered non-partisan George Martinez, who has experience both running for political office and working for a former special assistant to an Anchorage mayor, is running against political newcomer Spencer Moore.

Martinez served as a special assistant to former Anchorage mayor Ethan Berkowitz from 2015 to 2019, and is a former president of the Northeast Community Council where he said he “led the charge” against turning Centennial Park into a homeless camp.

“I haven’t seen a vision,” Martinez said when asked what he’ll do differently if elected to the Assembly.

“I’ve just seen things happening. I would love to have a clear vision. I think you start off with a vision based on values. What can we do in a dignified way to restore dignity in individuals who have found the cracks in our civil society? How do we find pathways for dignity?”

Martinez also unsuccessfully ran for Anchorage mayor in 2021.

“I’m probably the most experienced candidate in terms of having public policy and local experience, but I’m actively engaged in the community,” Martinez said. “As I woke up this morning and my wife said, ‘You know, without a title, you’re always in the community anyways.’ This is a natural next step where my leadership could be of service in our community and I’m focused on bringing our community together and giving us a real strong opportunity to have leadership once again.”

Spencer Moore, 30, says he’s possibly the youngest candidate running for Assembly. He’s also a minister, a volunteer state chaplain and former state notary in Alaska.

Moore has experience in the construction industry and is a volunteer and former youth basketball coach. The Republican and Mountain City Church minister says that looking out for the future of his children is part of the reason he’s running, and that he doesn’t like the direction the city is going in.

“I’m kind of just fed up with the current Assembly and just not being able to get things done, not being able to productively push legislation,” Moore said. “A lot of things getting mired in delays and things like that. It got me motivated to get in and run and just provide some balance.”

Moore also has experience as a district chairman and regional representative for the Republican Party in East Anchorage over the last few years.

“I want the government to get out of the way,” Moore said. “I want the free market to be able to work. I love it when the government doesn’t tell me what to do when I have the choice.”