This Q&A is part of a broader candidate survey by the Anchorage Daily News. View the full survey here.
Randy Sulte | District: 6 | Age: 52 | Occupation: COO | sulteforanchorage.com
What is the most important problem facing Anchorage? How would you address it?
Addressing homelessness will solve several challenges. A multifaceted issue requires a multifaceted approach from housing, counseling, skill development, medical treatment and more. A blend of a public and private partnership is needed that adopts ideas and programs with proven track records from successful cities. I agree with the mayor’s plan for a navigation center to triage and sort the needs of homeless, navigating them to resources that best match their needs. We will create focused solutions to reduce the influx of homeless and stop the ever-increasing numbers, treat those that require minimal resources, tackle the tougher, more difficult cases that are resource intensive, and lastly protect ourselves and those who view this as a way of life. I would return the Sullivan, among the longest-running COVID-19 shelters in the U.S., to the people. Finally, I would seek to reduce panhandling and illegal camping preventing the homeless from using established resources.
Rate Dave Bronson’s performance as mayor. Explain, with specific examples.
I would rate the current administration an 8 or 9 based on the fact that Anchorage has a defined and broadly supported solution to improve homelessness and his efforts to petition the state to rebuild the Port of Alaska and a specific section of the port to ensure security of supply for Alaska while the remainder of the port is rebuilt. I would also cite recent adopted changes to Title 21 proposed by his administration. I was also very pleased to see him hold an unruly citizen (who was actually in support of him) accountable for their behavior at a recent Assembly meeting.
The past two years have been marked by increased civic discord in Anchorage. How would you improve the quality of civic discourse in the city?
Leadership starts at the top with leading by example. I would start the healing process by removing five Assembly members from office this April and put all members on notice that they are elected community leaders and are here to represent the population at large and not their own private interests. As stewards of Anchorage, those elected are accountable for the health and well being of our city and their actions are of tremendous importance. Lead by example, hold each other accountable, and maintain the highest standard.
What’s your vision for improving and diversifying Anchorage’s economy?
I would start with changes to Title 21 and the Building Safety Office to encourage and streamline development in Anchorage, thereby reducing development cost, and the loss of housing and business to the Valley. I would work to clean up our downtown by improving public safety and promoting the tourism industry. Current leadership had created a loss of our talented workforce that no longer wishes to call Anchorage their home. I would look to capitalize on Anchorage International Airport’s global draw in freight and passengers air travel, as well as look to the future of a potential northwest passage through the Arctic where Anchorage could play a significant role.
What do you see as the most effective strategies to address homelessness in Anchorage going forward?
Homelessness is a multifaceted issue, and all strategies should be considered to address this diverse population. I support public-private partnerships, such as the proposed navigation center, and facilities such as the Hope Center. I support reduction in panhandling and illegal camping to push homeless people toward the established resources designed for them. I support looking across the U.S. to copy successful strategies from proven programs in other cities.