Mat-Su voters favor Edna DeVries for borough mayor

A woman with glasses and gray hair in a red blazer jacket poses, facing the camera and smiling.
Edna DeVries. (University of Alaska Anchorage)

The next mayor of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough looks to be Edna DeVries, the current mayor of Palmer.

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election show Mat-Su voters selecting DeVries, with about 58% of the vote in a three-way race. She ran against Matthew Beck, the borough’s former assembly member and deputy mayor, and former Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle.

The current Mat-Su Borough mayor, Vern Halter, has hit his term limit.

DeVries’ campaign lists public safety, economic growth and fiscal integrity — by “being wise with every dollar” — as issues she is focused on.

In a phone interview Wednesday, DeVries said there was another key message she thinks resonated with Valley voters.

“That we didn’t want the Valley to become Anchorage,” she said. “You know, people out here are, I think, want to be independent of further government regulations, whether that comes to personal freedoms or whether that comes to knowing what they can do with their own property, etc.”

All three candidates in the borough mayor’s race describe themselves as conservatives, and while the office is officially nonpartisan, Devries said the fact that she’s been a registered Republican for 40 years was also important to many voters.

“So people would call, and sometimes that would be the very first question they’d say,” she said. “They wouldn’t give their name or nothing. I’d say, ‘This is Edna,’ and they’d say, ‘Are you a Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian… what are you?'”

DeVries expects to take office as borough mayor Nov. 22, and said she’d resign that week as mayor of Palmer, making Deputy Mayor Steve Carrington the acting mayor.

About 13,300 voters comprising 15% of eligible voters in the borough — an area bigger than West Virginia — cast ballots in the mayor’s race.

Three of the Mat-Su Borough Assembly’s seven seats were also up for election, and one incumbent appears to have lost. That’s Tam Boeve, whom the unofficial results show losing to Ron Bernier.

Dolores McKee and Jesse Sumner appear to have won their races to be on the Assembly. And the early results show voters approving a $61 million transportation bond proposition, mostly for road upgrades.

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Casey Grove is host of Alaska News Nightly, a general assignment reporter and an editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Casey here

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