USUAA Hosts Anchorage Mayoral Debate

Photo: Ammon Swenson

Photo: Ammon Swenson

Last week, UAA’s student government hosted a debate for a handful of Anchorage’s mayoral candidates— Amy Demboski, Andrew Halcro, Lance Ahern, Dan Coffey, Ethan Berkowitz, and Timothy Huit.

While the event was a bit more forum than debate, they answered questions on various topics like homelessness and renewable energy.

It started with a round were the candidates had to quickly answer the same question using signs that said yes or no. The rest of the time they took turns answering a question. It was moderated by representatives from the college democrats and college republicans.

“I believe that the questions were neutral enough to where it really allowed the candidates to not adapt to a party line as much as to honestly and genuinely answer the questions and they were put on the spot,” said student government senator David Diaz.

Students and audience members could submit questions through Twitter. The candidates had to take turns answering a question about improving public safety for a second time after an audience member asked that they repeat the question with concrete answers.

“More nuanced issues are always the ones that are very difficult for candidates to answer, but as, you know, we’re electing them to office, they need to be held to a standard with those tough questions,” said aerospace engineering major, Ben Edwards.

Although the candidates didn’t have much time to dig deep into any specific issues, he thinks it was a good introduction for people who aren’t immersed in politics like Human Services major, Stone Sibbett.

“I think this was good in processing like a good chunk of information in kind of a faster paced time period,” said Sibbett

With the election on Tuesday, candidates are getting ready for the final push. They’ll need 45 percent of the vote to win, but a recent poll indicates that there might be a runoff. It shows Democrat Berkowitz with a healthy lead, but probably not enough to secure the election, leaving his three main rivals, Republicans Coffey, Demboski, and Halcro fighting for a second chance.

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