If elected to the Anchorage Assembly seat that Bill Starr is “terming” out of this spring, Eagle River’s John Brassell said his top funding priority is for first responders and public safety.
“Taking care of our first responders and making sure that they whole package they receive is adequate for them to take care of themselves and their families is very important to me,” Brassell said. “I think all of us have a heart for those that put their lives on the line for us every day and we want their well-being to be a top priority.”
Brassell wants to bring more officers on to the police force and add personnel and equipment to the fire department as warranted.
Much of Brassell’s goals in public safety line up with those of current Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz – and that is okay with Brassell, a Republican who believes that working as partners with Democrats in the Municipality is a beneficial endeavor as long as fiscal responsibility guides the day.
“If my public safety goals lines up with those of Ethan, then great,” he said. “We have to take care of the people that take care of us.”
Brassell’s first order of business is aligned with the work he’s done in the Republican Party thus far: he is the finance chair for District 13 and 14 and co-chair of finance for the state. He has a master’s degree in accounting from Liberty University and plans to put that training to work taking a fine comb through the Municipality’s budget.
“I love working with budgets and I want to go through the budget line by line to make sure we are spending wisely,” Brassell said. “I want to break it down and find out what our needs are and what are wants are and develop a budget that soundly reflects those things.”
Brassell has the support of some heavy hitters within the local and state Republican ranks: former Assemblyman Dan Kendall, former Lt. Gov Loren Leman and Rep. Lora Reinbold.
“Having those people come and support me is just a blessing,” Brassell said. “I am honored and humbled by it. They each work so hard for this community and they want the best for this community. So to have them come alongside me saying that they are trusting that I will continue that work on the Assembly is more than I can ask for.”
At a fundraising party on Jan. 6, Kendall told the Brassell supporters gathered how the would-be Assemblyman earned the support of one (Kendall) who has been where he (Brassell) is now running for election.
“I’ve been remodeling my house and John and I just kept missing each other’s phone calls. So I finally asked him if he knew how to hang sheetrock,” Kendall said. The next week, Brassell – who had hung sheetrock in college – came over to the Kendall home to hang sheetrock and talk Assembly politics. It didn’t take long for Brassell to win Kendall over. “He is fairly knowledgeable about local issues considering he has been in Alaska only eight years. He has jumped right in and been a part of things and he is willing to learn, easy to talk to and he has a good grasp on the issues that matter here.”
Leman, who lives in West Anchorage but works in Eagle River, said Brassell earned his support in the past year through various conversations.
“He has solid values – what I will call an acknowledgment of timeless truths and certain principles that we all should want to live by,” Leman said of Brassell. “John acknowledges those things and endeavors to live by those. If he works hard, I think he has a good chance of winning the election.”
Leman, who serves on the Municipality’s Public Safety Advisory Commission, likes what he hears from Brassell regarding fiscal responsibility working within a budget prioritizing the needs of first responders.
“These areas are of extraordinary importance to our community,” Leman said. “I expect John knows how to deliver these services within the budget caps and the tax caps we have in the Municipality.”
Much of Leman’s faith in Brassell’s capability comes from the resume Brassell has built.
He currently is the vice president and account executive with Parker, Smith and Feek – a risk management and insurance brokerage firm based in Anchorage that is ranked within the top 100 in the industry nationwide. His work there includes negotiating price and health care plan design. He does so from an insider’s perspective – Brassell began his career in the U.S. Air Force as a certified surgical technologist having been deployed to Bosnia with the 60th Medical Group Surgical Team based from David Grant USAF Medical Center based at Travis Air Force Base outside of Sacramento, Calif. His work on the financial side of health care began there as he worked with various vendors to secure appropriate pricing of needed supplies. From there, Brassell spent eight years as an executive pastor at a Pennsylvania church before joining the Anchorage-based Wilson Agency in 2010. Two years later, Brassell became the executive director of business development at Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage. He joined PSF in 2014.
Brassell and wife, Renee Brassell, have six children and one grandchild.
Learn more about his campaign online at: www.facebook.com/John-Brassell-for-Assembly-219388428469604.