Some familiar names and others not as well known have declared their intentions to run for the Alaska Legislature
In order to appear on the primary ballot in Alaska, candidates must file a declaration of candidacy by June 1, 2022. Candidates have started to announce that they are running, but by no means is the list complete. The primary election is Aug. 16, 2022.
Here is an early look at the candidates who have expressed their intentions to run for the Legislature. They are listed alphabetically below. The information is culled from online filings with the Alaska Public Offices Commission at the Department of Administration. Some candidates also responded to queries from the News-Miner.
• Kieran Brown of Fairbanks has filed to run for a House seat in the Alaska Legislature. Brown told the News-Miner he is registered as a Constitutionalist but is “likely to change” affiliations to the Republican Party. He is seeking to fill the seat now held by Rep. Adam Wool, a Fairbanks Democrat.
• Rep. Mike Cronk of Tok plans to run for another term. A retired school teacher, Cronk works in construction. Cronk, a Republican, has advocated for a spending cap, funding critical services and responsibly developing the state’s natural resources.
• Aaron Gibson has filed to fill the seat currently held by Rep. Steve Thompson, a Fairbanks Republican. Gibson serves on the Fairbanks City Council. His term expires in October 2022. As a council member, he has emphasized public safety, infrastructure and “responsible use” of taxpayer dollars.
• Rep. Grier Hopkins, a Fairbanks Democrat, announced in July he would seek reelection. On his campaign website, Hopkins noted that he has “defended public education and community assistance,” helped low-income seniors with dental care, and supported the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Hopkins’ priorities are strengthening the economy through fiscal planning, supporting military families, investing in energy and broadband infrastructure, and “continuing to listen to Alaska’s parents and educational experts to give our students the tools to succeed.”
• Sen. Scott Kawasaki, a Fairbanks Democrat, represents a district that is changing if the redistricting board’s recent decisions withstand potential objections. Kawasaki may face a challenge from Jim Matherly, who currently is the Fairbanks mayor. In 2021, Kawasaki, introduced legislation for a temporary and voluntary retirement incentive program to increase state savings by allowing public employees to retire early. In many cases, pensions paid to retired employees cost the state less money than their current salaries.
• Jim Matherly, mayor of Fairbanks, is running for the Senate seat now held by Kawasaki. “Well, it’s official. After lots of encouragement and prayer, I’ve decided to run for State Senate next year,” Matherly, a Republican, said on Twitter. “I love public service,” Matherly told the News-Miner. “After two terms on the council and two as mayor, it just seems like the logical step.”
• Rep. Mike Prax, a North Pole Republican, is seeking another term. His background includes serving on the Alaska Emergency Response Commission and the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly. Prax told the News-Miner he is seeking re-election “because I want to build on the experience I’ve gained over the past two years and think the people in the North Pole / Badger Road area generally approve of how I’ve represented them over the past two years.”
• Frank Tomaszewski of Fairbanks is running for a House seat. He currently serves on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly. In 2019, he told the News-Miner “As a business owner, I think all services can be evaluated for efficiency. We need to be transparent with the taxpayers and have real discussions about which services are beneficial in making our community a great place to live.”