Former Anchorage Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance to run for mayor next year

brown haired woman speaks into microphone
Former Anchorage Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance speaks during an Oct. 25, 2022 meeting. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

Former Anchorage Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance has filed to run for mayor of the state’s largest city in next year’s election. 

LaFrance filed her letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on Monday. It’s the first step to get on the ballot, and LaFrance says she plans on filing the full paperwork necessary. 

LaFrance is registered nonpartisan, and represented South Anchorage on the Assembly starting in 2017. She opted not to run for reelection this year. She served as chair of the Assembly for the first two years of Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration, and says that makes her an experienced candidate.

“The work on the Assembly has been rewarding and challenging,” LaFrance said. “And I believe that I understand what it takes to have effective government.”

Bronson is currently the only other candidate who has filed to run for Anchorage mayor. He filed the paperwork in November.

LaFrance’s tenure as chair was marked by a tense relationship between Bronson, a staunch conservative, and the mostly moderate to left-leaning Assembly. LaFrance led inquiries into the hiring of disgraced former health director Joe Gerace, and into the Bronson administration amid accusations of unlawful and unethical behaviors.

LaFrance says she thinks there will always be tension between the Assembly and mayor’s office, but she hopes to work in good faith with the city’s legislative branch if elected mayor. 

“I think the key is to be respectful, to be focused on the job, and to put the community first,” LaFrance said. “And I think that if you do that, the relationship will follow.”

If successful, LaFrance would become the first woman elected to serve as Anchorage mayor. Former West Anchorage Assembly member Austin Quinn-Davidson was appointed acting mayor for roughly eight months in 2020 after former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz resigned. 

The mayoral election will be held on April 2, 2024.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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