Trio of candidates file to represent Chugiak-Eagle River on the Anchorage Assembly

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 20:29
  • Jamie Allard, Roger Branson and Stephany Jeffers are running in the April municipal election for District 2, Seat C on the Anchorage Assembly.

(Editor’s note: Following publication of this story, candidate Roger Branson announced he will be asking voters to pick either of the other two candidates. Read more here.)

Three locals have filed to run for the Anchorage Assembly, including one who waited until the next-to-last minute to throw her hat into the ring.

Filing to fill Fred Dyson’s seat on the 11-member body were Jamie Allard, Roger Branson and Stephany Jeffers. Allard announced her candidacy in November and filed to run on Jan. 21, while Branson filed Jan. 27. But Jeffers didn’t file until 4:58 on Jan. 31 — two minutes before the filing deadline.

Allard and Jeffers are familiar names to local voters after both mounted campaigns for the Alaska State House in 2018, when Allard was defeated in the District 14 Republican primary by Kelly Merrick and Jeffers lost the District 12 general election to Rep. Cathy Tilton. Branson has never run for office.

The three candidates will vie to replace Dyson, who has decided not to seek re-election to the District 2, Seat C seat, one of two that represent Chugiak-Eagle River on the 11-member Anchorage Assembly.

Eagle River’s Allard, 48, is an Army veteran who served as a special assistant to the Commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs before beginning her Assembly campaign. In an interview with the Star, she said her first priority will be public safety. She’d like to see police crack down on low-level crimes in order to curb overall criminal activity.

“I believe when we enforce petty crime it will reduce escalating crime,” said Allard, who said she’s a conservative choice who will work to cut the municipal budget.

Allard said she got into politics because she wants to serve her neighbors.

“I would just say I’m an all American like anybody else who wants to do right by their community,” she said.

Branson, 59, describes himself as a mental health consumer advocate and criminal justice reform advocate. He has a history of criminal offenses and mental illness dating back to his teen years, according to a post on his website, rogerbranson.com. In a post titled “My Confession,” Branson writes about struggling with despair and the fear others had that he “was capable of becoming a mass murderer.”

He says he’s seeking forgiveness, should be held accountable for his actions and wants to be open about his struggles.

“I strongly believe there is a deeper understanding to be had among our community,” he said.

Branson said he hopes to remove stigmas surrounding people with mental health issues. He got into the race, he said, in part because he filed at a time when only one person was in the race.

“I didn’t want to see the seat go uncontested,” said Branson, who noted that now that it’s a three-way race he may remove his name from contention.

Chugiak’s Jeffers, 34, owns Cirque Boreal, an aerial acrobatics business in Eagle River. She grew up in Chugiak and is a former Miss Alaska.

Jeffers ran as an unaffiliated candidate in 2018 and was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Against Tilton, she campaigned on creating a long-term fiscal plan and said she’d like to see Alaska diversity its economy.

In an interview Wednesday, Jeffers said she met with both Allard and Branson and believes she represents an alternative to both. Jeffers said she considers herself fiscally conservative but believes she’s more progressive than Allard on subjects like climate change.

“I have never considered myself a member of either party,” she said.

Jeffers pointed to Dyson as an example of someone she’d like to emulate on the Assembly because of his deliberate approach to each issue on its merits.

“I want someone who does what they think is right and doesn’t care what party letter is or what your name is,” she said.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected] or call 694-2108

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