2 pilots, business developer compete for South Anchorage Assembly seat

A Marine infantryman, medevac pilot and business developer and competing for District 6, Seat K seat
Two pilots and a business developer, who's a registered Libertarian, are competing for the current Assembly Chair's seat in South Anchorage.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:30 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Three candidates are competing for Anchorage Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance’s District 6, Seat K seat, which represents communities from South Anchorage down to Girdwood.

LaFrance has decided not to run for reelection after six years on the Assembly.

There are two pilots and a business developer in the race for her seat.

One is Marine Corps infantry veteran and former state pilot Zac Johnson, who is undeclared politically.

Johnson says he considers himself a moderate independent.

He’s been on the Board of the Hillside Community Council, was a Girdwood firefighter and is a former state trooper.

“I’m somebody who’s put himself in harm’s way, who’s taken on a lot of self-sacrifice. I do it because I care about my community,” Johnson said. “That’s the same attitude I bring to serving on the Assembly. I’m here to do the job to take care of our people, not because I’m all that interested in politics or partisanship, because I want to focus on getting the job done.”

Johnson said among the ongoing issues that the Assembly and Mayor Dave Bronson are consistently focused on, one issue he plans to address for his district is the recurring wildfire threat on the South Anchorage hillside.

U.S. Army veteran Rachel Ries, who filed first out of these three candidates, says she was deployed to Afghanistan as a medevac pilot and is a retired military officer.

Ries is also commissioner of the Anchorage Budget Advisory Council and has served as vice president of the Huffman/O’Malley Community Council.

She’s a registered Republican and is a licensed paralegal.

“I definitely want to revisit the school budget,” Ries said. “I think we need to get some return on that investment considering how much of a burden that is on homeowners. I definitely want to look at how we can tweak the budget and not raise costs on anybody but make it more efficient and effective to maximize services to the public.”

Mikel Insalaco, a registered libertarian, is a business owner, development advisor and former district manager of The Revenue Optimization Company, which manages retail operations across multiple states.

Insalaco has also worked for Alaska Public Media as a corporate communications director. He was born and raised in Anchorage and is raising a fourth generation of his family in the state.

“I’m extremely passionate about solving problems and the reason why I say this — I work for a variety of organizations building programs from the ground up, and what I want to do is find the most effective way to build and solve problems with those programs,” Insalaco said. “It could be at a national or local level and the outcomes that come from that are what I’m most excited about.”