A packed crowd turned out for a head-to-head debate between the two candidates vying for the Mat-Su Borough’s mayoral seat.
Held Oct. 9 at the Wasilla Senior Center, Edna DeVries and Matthew Beck answered a slew of questions aimed at pinpointing their views on mask mandates, election integrity, gun rights, climate change, taxation and more.
While the candidates both opposed additional property taxes or new zoning in the Mat-Su, they expressed key differences on a number of other hot-button issues.
In general, DeVries voiced serious concern about Dominion voting machines and election integrity, especially with regard to absentee and mail-in ballots. She favors new safeguards to prevent fraud and corruption in ballot tallying. Beck said he thought Mat-Su elections are “very secure” and didn’t see cause for concern.
On mask mandates, DeVries adamantly opposes them, and said she would fight to defend the right of citizens to choose whether to wear them. She was also concerned about employees facing termination for declining to get COVID shots.
Beck was less forceful on this issue, saying he doesn’t favor vaccine mandates, but that he does require employees to mask up in his private businesses. In general, he opposes “overarching mandates” from a government which he described as “a little bit restrictive.”
On the gun rights front, DeVries said she is willing to consider making the Mat-Su Borough a Second Amendment sanctuary. Beck didn’t have an opinion on the matter but said it is “sad” that something like this even needs to be considered.
DeVries was clearly the more conservative candidate, and proud to be labeled as such. When an audience member asked Beck to convince attendees that he, too, was a “conservative,” he noted that he is a fiscal conservative, but considers himself “non-partisan.”