Fred Dyson takes the conservative mantle from Bill Starr on the Anchorage Assembly on Tues., April 18 at 5 p.m. when he takes the oath of office for yet another tenure in what has been decades of public service.
Dyson’s campaign message that experience – specifically his – would be the deciding factor in Tuesday night’s Assembly race hit home with voters as Dyson captured the bulk of the vote for the District C seat up for grabs this year as Starr termed out.
Dyson’s political resume includes previous service on the Assembly from 1985 to 1991 as well as serving in the state house of representatives from 1997 to 2002 and in the state senate from 2003 to 2015.
Dyson took 48.84 percent of the vote with 2,797 votes.
“I am honored and I am looking forward to getting the harness on again and getting back to work,” Dyson said Wednesday morning as he prepared to head out with Starr to start taking down campaign signs.
That plan also included helping his opponents – John Brassell and Gretchen Wehmhoff – take down their campaign signs.
“I just got off the phone with John from a long conversation with him,” Dyson told the ECHO News early Wednesday morning via phone. “And he has expressed a sincere interest in getting involved and becoming more knowledgeable about the local area. We agreed – and Gretchen agreed last night when I talked with her – to help each other take down our signs and get the mess cleaned up and move forward together.”
Dyson said he appreciated Wehmhoff’s showing in the Assembly race.
“She and I got to be pretty good friends,” Dyson said, noting that despite their divergent political views, he believes Wehmhoff has the best interests of the Chugiak-Eagle River area as her priority. “She is a really good-hearted lady and I value her input.”
Wehmhoff – who is a registered Democrat holding views on the other end of the political spectrum from Dyson – made an impressive showing earning 32.83 percent (1,880 votes) in the non-partisan Assembly election from a district that typically leans Republican and highly conservative.
Tuesday night as she watched election results come in, Wehmhoff said she was pleased with how many voters approved her message which included planning today for future area transportation needs as well as addressing the immediate needs for a taxi service in the Eagle River area.
“I want to thank the voters that expressed their confidence in me and I want to let them know that I intend to continue to push for the issues that matter here,” Wehmhoff told the ECHO News.
Brassell had phoned by Dyson and Wehmhoff early Tuesday morning to congratulate each of them on their campaigns and to express his appreciate that both ran a clean campaign focused on the issues that matter to the local area.
In his first local bid, Brassell received 12.07 percent of the vote (691 votes.)
As he waved signs Tuesday night with his family in front of Fred Meyer on the Old Glen Highway, Brassell expressed optimism that the 2017 Assembly campaign would be just the beginning of his newfound involvement in the local community.
“I want to help make a difference in this community that is now the home to my family,” he told the ECHO News. “Fred and I had a 30 minute conversation this morning nd it was a good one. With the Assembly now leaning the way it is, I am glad that Fred is on the Assembly. He is a statesman who will help pull together the conservative values we need now. And I value his agenda. We need him for that.”
With the election barely in the books, Dyson has offered to mentor Brassell – something the later said he is grateful to receive.
“He can help me learn,” Brassell said. “I look forward to him mentoring me in politics so that he can pass the baton down to another conservative leader in the future. I was very blessed to hear Fred talking about mentorship and his willingness to take me under his wing. I am ready and willing to assist him in any way.”
Amy Demboski, the other Assembly representative for the Chugiak-Eagle River area who also served as Dyson’s campaign treasurer, said she is thankful to have Dyson coming on board.
“The voters of our community recognized the need for the wisdom, experience and unwavering values that Senator Dyson brings with him and that serious economic times called for exactly this type of leadership. I think we will complement each other well. I am thrilled to work side by side with him, learn from him and be a unified voice to serve this community,” Demboski texted to the ECHO News Wednesday morning.
As of Wednesday morning, 18 of the 19 voting precincts in the Chugiak-Eagle River area had reported. The absentee ballots which had to be postmarked April 4 are yet to be counted.
According to the Municipality’s elections website, a sparse 15.9 percent of registered voters actually cast a ballot in the 2017 election.
Other results include:
Dave Donnelly handily beating his opponents for Anchorage School Board Seat C. Donnelly took 42.96 percent of the votes with 15,075 votes in the contest that asked voters throughout the entire Anchorage Bowl who should take that seat.
The race for another ASD Board seat – Seat D – between Andy Holleman and Kay Schuster is close. As of Wednesday morning, Holleman had a slight lead on Schuster with 44.85 percent of the vote with 15,947 votes to Schuster’s 44.68 percent with 15,889 votes.
Several propositions with financial ramifications for Anchorage property taxpayers got the thumbs up from voters.
These included the $58.5 million for school improvement bonds for the ASD as well Anchorage Parks and Recreation, Anchorage Road and Drainage Services areas, Anchorage Fire Service Area Protection, Anchorage Police Department service area facilities bonds and expansion of the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Service Area.
Proposition 8 which would have repealed recent Assembly moves to create on open entry taxi system in the Anchorage Bowl versus the previous system with more controls regarding the number of taxi permits allowed was struck down by voters by a convincing margin: Nearly 60 percent of voters said no to Prop 8 thus saying yes to Assembly plans to increase taxi service.
View results of the April 4 Assembly and ASD School Board online at: //results.muni.org/seats.htm.
View results of the April 4 vote on propositions online at: //results.muni.org/props.htm.