By Ken Smith
The Municipal election is April 1 and citizens will have a full slate of ballot propositions to consider, as well as candidates for the School Board, Anchorage Assembly, and, three candidates are seeking Seat C on the Girdwood Board of Supervisors, which has one year remaining on its three-year term.
Voters will decide on 20 ballot propositions with bonds for education, public safety, and transportation capital improvements. Propositions 2 is of particular interest to Girdwood voters. If approved, the bond will provide planning and design money for the Girdwood School.
Proposition 2 provides $34.3 million through the issuance of general obligation bonds to pay for addition and renewal of Chester Valley and Sand lake Elementary Schools and design plans for Girdwood K-8 School. The projects currently qualify for 60 percent state debt reimbursement.
In addition to the ballot propositions, voters will elect Anchorage Assembly and School Board Members.
Three candidates are vying for Seat K on the Anchorage Assembly, which represents South Anchorage, and Turnagain Arm communities: Indian, Bird and Girdwood. Chris Birch is the incumbent, seeking his second term. Mike Kenny and Jesse Busick are challenging him.
Bryan Epley, who has been on the board for three months, currently occupies Girdwood Board of Supervisor Seat C. Jan hood and Hank Hosford will challenge him. GBOS seats D and E are occupied by Jake Thompson and John Gallup both seeking reelection. Neither candidate is being challenged for the three-year full-term seat.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Glacier City Hall is the local polling place for Girdwood.
The Turnagain Times requested biographies of all candidates for Seat K on the Anchorage Assembly and Seat C on the GBOS. Below are the biographies that were submitted.
Assembly Seat K
Chris Birch was elected to the Anchorage Assembly in 2005 to represent South Anchorage securing the most votes of any seated assembly member. Chris has effectively challenged run-a-way increases in municipal property taxes by reducing the Mayor’s proposed budget increases, successfully challenged excessive city labor contract provisions, improved competition for city services, addressed longstanding transportation needs and encouraged a responsible approach to land use ordinances such as the city sign code.
Chris has served on the Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions (AMATS) and the ML&P-Chugach merger team; chaired the legislative committee and the audit committee; and served as assembly liaison to the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the National League of Cities and the Chamber of Commerce.
Chris is Vice President for Business Development with NANA Development Corporation in Anchorage where he is responsible for defining and driving revenue growth opportunities in national and international markets.
Chris earned a B.S. in Mining Engineering and an M.S. in Engineering Management from UAF and has been licensed as a Civil Engineer since 1978.
Chris worked on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System design and with DOT&PF on public design and construction projects across Alaska. Chris and his family moved to Anchorage with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in 1991 and subsequently served as Director of Engineering, Planning and Environment at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Chris and Pam Birch married in 1978; Pam is a technical communication consultant. They have two children and two grandchildren living in Anchorage.
In 1975, Mike Kenny and his family purchased land in South Anchorage to build their permanent home. Over the course of 10 years, the Kennys built their dream home in stages and finally finished, albeit with a mortgage, in 1985.
Between the years that have passed since then, Mike and his wife Val have been fortunate enough to raise a wonderful family in Anchorage. Their daughter Meme and her husband Matt operate a small business and live in Eagle River. Mike’s son, Mickey, will graduate from Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College in June.
Throughout the years, Mike’s work as a surveyor took him across the state. He has worked in the Bearing Sea Region and Norton Sound, Valdez, Prudhoe Bay and Amchitka, and worked on a preliminary gasline survey crew in Delta Junction. Mike also worked in Seward to repair the disaster caused by the Exxon-Valdez oil spill.
In 1992, Mike was hired as a business agent for Teamsters Local 959. In addition to representing members as a business agent, Mike’s experience includes developing relationships with the oil and service industries in Alaska, as well as negotiating and working with the AGC.
Mike was elected head of Teamsters Local 959 in the position of Secretary Treasurer in 2003, where he served three years before retiring in January 2007. Mike has experience negotiating deals on behalf of working Alaskans.
As a candidate for Anchorage Assembly, Mike has made a commitment to serving his constituents full-time, with integrity and trustworthy leadership.
GBOS Seat C
Henry D. Hosford:
I lived in New Orleans for 25 years where I was the managing partner of a financial services firm. I moved to Alaska in 1996, and moved to Girdwood one-and-a-half years ago. I served as president of the Old Seward Oceanview Community Council for 3 years before moving to Girdwood. I also worked as the budget director for the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. I’ve served on the Board of the Alyeska Ski and Snowboard Club. I am currently the Treasurer for Girdwood Rotary Club.
I am married with six children and one grandchild.
Bryan is a three-year Girdwood resident and business owner. He and his wife of 15years, Sharnee, have two boys. Bryan and Sharnee were born and raised in Utah, where they attended both high school and college together. Bryan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. After an assignment in Oregon, Bryan and Sharnee moved to Alaska in 1996 and to Girdwood in 2005. Bryan has nearly 15 years of experience in both the small business world and the corporate business world. Recognizing education is ongoing, Bryan has invested in himself by earning several advance certificates and designations. Bryan believes that the next few years will be critical in the future of Girdwood; although he would like to see Girdwood retain its small town character, he would like to see Girdwood advance and become economically vibrant and more independent through sustainable and responsible growth and redevelopment that would thereby improve and advance the town’s amenities and infrastructure. As a member of the National Ski Patrol, Bryan has been a volunteer member of the Alyeska Resort Ski Patrol since 1997. Bryan has served on the G. B. O. S., Land Use Committee and currently occupies G. B. O. S. Seat C. Bryan and his family attend Change Point church in Anchorage.
I am running for GBOS Seat C because of my sincere interest in becoming more involved with this community, noting myself to be qualified to do so by experience and by my ability to listen to, and communicate with, a diversity of residents here. An Alaska resident since 1993, I eventually moved to Girdwood after falling in love with the place, its people and potential – as shared by my three children, Alec (14 yrs), JT (8yrs) & Autumn (7 yrs) as well as my father (Noel).
I earned my B.A. (Business) at the University of Oregon, and an MBA in Finance at Golden Gate University in San Francisco; and, bring approximately 25 years of experience to this position with much of that including work on complicated commercial development projects. I have served on the Board of Equalization and with several nonprofit housing boards while working as an officer of major banking institutions (such as BofA, NBA, Wells Fargo, George Smith Partners, Inc., and Residential Mortgage LLC, among others); and, was noted among “Alaska’s top 40 under 40” during its initial year of award.
I would be honored to earn your vote, and to serve Girdwood in this capacity. Thank you.