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.
The upcoming April 2021 mayoral election is about who is best prepared to meet the moment. I’m the only candidate with significant executive-management and local-government experience.
I view public service as a higher calling, to be executed with integrity, and for the single purpose of doing what’s right. Because of earthquakes, fires, and pandemics, voters have seen me walking that talk.
I most recently served as Municipal Manager, where I oversaw nine departments (including police, fire, and health); three utilities; four offices; the Port and Merrill Field. I supervised nearly 1500 general-government employees. Before that, I was City Attorney, where I oversaw the civil law division, prosecutor’s office, and administrative hearing office.
I know the city. I know how to build and lead successful teams. And I have a record of delivering real solutions.
I coordinated the city’s response to the November 2018 earthquake, the 2019 wildfire season, and in 2020 served as incident commander overseeing our local, on-the-ground response to COVID-19. We ensured adequate PPE for responders, slowed disease transmission, and helped Alaska achieve best-in-the-nation levels of testing, all while preventing our hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Getting the virus under control is key to our economic recovery. I’m looking ahead at the post-COVID, work-from-anywhere, Zoom-enabled world, and know that should play to our strength—we’re a place that people want to be.
I believe Anchorage’s best days are still ahead us, and I’m invested in that future because this is my hometown. I’m a graduate of Central and Dimond; my father’s career in the Air Force brought us to Elmendorf, and my mother worked for many years as a special education teacher at Rabbit Creek elementary. My wife of ten years, Jeannette Lee, and I are raising our two young kids here.
I’ve served on the boards of many civic organizations, including the United Way of Anchorage, the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, Alaska Common Ground, and the Arc of Anchorage (from which my brother receives services).
Apart from managing unexpected crises, residents have seen that I can deliver. For decades, the city talked about consolidating ML&P and Chugach. I led the negotiation team that got it done, and bills are now lower. For decades, the city has been talking about rebuilding the Port. I lead the team that got the project off of high-center, and the new Petroleum Cement Terminal construction project is now fully funded, on time and on budget.
The mayor has to be ready for anything, and innovate. When the Troopers left Anchorage, I found a way to get law enforcement back to the highway and Girdwood. When the legislature left 4th Avenue, I worked quickly to bring APD back downtown and keep the former LIO building from remaining vacant.
I wrote first-of-their-kind ordinances to increase healthcare transparency and to clean-up properties like the Northern Lights Inn; improved the Fire Department’s ability to deliver emergency medical services by bringing online new ambulances and EMS equipment; and supported common sense improvements at the Police Department, like turning on 311, outfitting officers with cellphones, and increasing DNA-analysis and criminal-intelligence capabilities—improvements that have contributed to real reductions in crime.
We have much work ahead of us. We must champion the post COVID economic recovery; make real progress on homelessness; complete the Port of Alaska rebuild; preserve our public safety gains; and invest in the quality-of-life improvements that really take us to the next level—early childhood education, trails, smart energy investments, and forging a better partnership with the university; while also preserving our local financial health and bond rating.
Some candidates are making promises they can’t deliver, because they simply don’t understand how city government works. Or they want to politicize every issue. I want Anchorage to work efficiently, with balanced budgets, and community pride. A government worthy of its people.
From my record, folks know I’m not about politics, I’m about getting things done. I’ve put in the time, and I know the ropes. I offer a steady hand, and open mind, and a real record of success.
It has been an honor working on your behalf through these challenging years.
I’d like to continue working for you as Mayor, and respectfully ask for your vote.
Bill Falsey is a candidate for Anchorage mayor.