Note: As part of our coverage of the 2021 Anchorage mayoral race, the Landmine invited the Dunbar, Bronson, Robbins, Evans, Martinez, and Falsey campaigns to submit one op-ed each of 700 words or less in support of their respective candidates. All submissions received are published as-is and in random order starting on March 1.
Ballots for the next Municipal election will arrive in our mailboxes in just a few weeks. As voters, we face an important decision about whom we elect to lead Anchorage for the coming years. Forrest Dunbar is a capable, experienced leader. He has taken the threat of COVID seriously and made hard decisions to protect our community. Forrest is focused on getting our economy back to work and has a vision for a vibrant Anchorage with thriving businesses. Forrest Dunbar is the right choice for Anchorage’s next Mayor.
Forrest and I have known each other and worked together for years. I know how dedicated Forrest is to this community, because I’ve seen that commitment firsthand. Forrest shows up to community events, and not just to make an appearance — he seeks to understand our community’s challenges and celebrate our successes. Since I began my service on the Anchorage School Board, Forrest has been a partner on issues that impact our local public schools. He has voted to continue the Municipality’s financial support of the Anchorage School District at the maximum level allowed. Forrest is a strong advocate for our children and youth and is always looking for ways to support their physical and mental health, including championing the importance of quality childcare, support for our homeless families and young people, and much more.
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Forrest is a lifelong Alaskan. He grew up in Rural Alaska and made his home in Anchorage, where he’s dedicated himself to serving our community. He helped found the Muldoon Farmers Market, he’s a captain in the Army National Guard, and serves on the board of the Anchorage Park Foundation.
Forrest has represented East Anchorage on the Assembly for the last five years. In that time, he’s served his district and the entire city with responsible leadership. Anchorage needs someone in the Mayor’s office who has experience bringing diverse groups together, reaching consensus, and enacting policies that move our city forward. Forrest has done just that. He worked to make our community safer by adding over 100 officers to the Anchorage Police Department and supporting the creation of the Mental Health First Responders team to provide services for those in crisis. Forrest also knows how critical it is to help our community recover from the economic toll caused by the pandemic. On the Assembly, he fought to designate CARES Act funding to rental and mortgage relief and aid for the restaurant and hospitality industries. He stands up for our public schools, our students and our teachers by taking care of our community outside of school so teachers can focus on doing what they do best inside the classroom. Forrest is the only Mayoral candidate endorsed by the Anchorage Education Association, and he strongly advocated for educators to be among the first in our community to receive COVID vaccinations.
Our elementary students are back to in-person learning with their teachers and classmates, and our secondary students will start back soon. Our teachers and staff are being vaccinated thanks in part to Forrest’s advocacy, and I’m hopeful that the worst of the pandemic will soon be behind us. But safely reopening our homes, schools and businesses takes real leadership from the Mayor’s office. Forrest will work harder than anyone to ensure our community recovers and becomes the safe, welcoming, thriving city we know Anchorage can be.
I encourage you to join me in casting your vote (safely, at home!) for Forrest Dunbar for Mayor in the upcoming April 6 election.
Deena Mitchell is a member of the Anchorage School Board.