My wife of 46 years and I have always felt we were informed voters with a libertarian streak. We research candidates, try to meet them, and talk with those who know them. We have approached this current Anchorage mayoral election with an expanded commitment to get involved in backing our chosen candidate. 

Our choice is Dave Bronson. I’ll get to the reasons in a moment. It’s important to explain why we are so involved, including max donors and volunteers for his campaign. 

We came to Alaska in 1989 as traveling nurses after working in 14 states and 31 locations, at every type of critical care unit and emergency setting. We lived in Soldotna and Dillingham where I became a physician assistant and later settled in Anchorage in 2000.

Life on the East Hillside is wonderful, even today. But many changes over the last few years threaten the character of the city I love. SARS-Cov-2 struck while we were on a road trip to the Lower-48. We returned through Canada last April.

Bronson has a libertarian streak that directly conflicts with the present municipal overreach.

The first thing we noticed on our return was the explosion in the homeless/vagrant population. It seemed our city had changed drastically in seven months. This is a complex issue, but it’s obvious over the last five years that those in charge have only enabled and exacerbated the problem.

I’ve attempted to dialogue with the Assembly and the unelected acting mayor for six months now, both at Assembly audience participation and frequent emails. Once the doomsday COVID modeling that predicted 7,800 hospitalizations with 5,800 deaths in Anchorage within the first months of the pandemic did not materialize, I realized those in the muni, under the unbridled power of an emergency declaration, were basing decisions on myopic flawed data, mainstream panic porn, and a desire to hold on to the unlimited power they granted themselves.

As a former physician assistant, I thought that if I presented science-based journal articles concerning the flaws in their assumptions, while pointing out their total disregard for the unintended consequences of their decisions, perhaps they would change course. Instead, Anchorage increased business closures and unemployment, increased mental health crisis intervention, substance abuse, domestic violence and child abuse, delayed preventative health, and the collapse of our children’s education.

Mr. Bronson would have followed the same Libertarian approach used in the Mat-Su and the Kenai.

After more than five months of emails, one Assembly person recently admitted the “benefits of an EP (emergency proclamation) are to streamline purchasing and help reassign MOA staff. It is also important to have an emergency declared for FEMA funding.”

We have now been under emergency proclamation for 13 months, and mayoral candidate Forrest Dunbar has voted to extend the EP eight times, most recently on April 13. I live in District 5. Though he is supposed to represent me, he has responded to only one of my many emails in the last six months – a one-line snark about some data misrepresented on a CDC site.

We attended fundraisers for multiple candidates. After speaking with Dave Bronson, we realized he too had a libertarian streak that directly conflicted with the present municipal overreach in the face of the pandemic.

Here we are 13 months later and still under an emergency proclamation with emergency orders restricting our freedom of choice. Just 45 miles down the road, however, the Mat-Su has less hospitalizations and deaths per 100,000, and no mandates. They only have recommendations, while giving citizens the credit and power to decide their own potential threat matrix related to COVID. Businesses are thriving and gatherings normally benefitting Anchorage, like the Sportsman’s Show and Wild Sheep Foundation Banquet, are now in Wasilla and Palmer.

Mr. Bronson would have followed the same Libertarian approach used in the Mat-Su and the Kenai. If he had been in charge, I would not still be mandated to wear a mask while exercising, a potentially dangerous situation physically. Peer reviewed journal articles on this topic, which I forwarded to Assemblyman Dunbar and other Assembly members, were ignored.

My wife and I have been fully vaccinated for almost two months making this mandate even more ludicrous.

The Assembly feels they know better than I regarding what is personally safe, even though I’m the one that was licensed to practice medicine.

If you’re tired of having a local government that thinks it knows more than you about your personal wellbeing, please elect Dave Bronson for mayor of Anchorage.  We need that new direction, not a continuation of fact-ignoring “leadership.”

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Bronson’s libertarian streak is the new direction Anchorage needs

James Wojciehowski
James Wojciehowski is a retired physician assistant and 21-year resident of Anchorage.