Here’s how we’ll keep putting our values into action.
Let’s do this.
More resources need to go to early childhood education, easing the burden on working parents and leveling the playing field for all children from the very beginning. The hard numbers show pre-K makes good economic sense. Study after study show the long-term benefits: positive brain development in a child’s early years means a child is more likely to succeed in school, find steady, meaningful employment, enjoy better health, and stay out of the prison system. By not investing in our youngest, we’re 'saving ourselves poor.'
Quality childcare exists in Anchorage, but it’s wildly expensive. Because our university system is subsidized, it can cost more to send a 3-year old to preschool than it does to send a young adult to UAA. We’re still running a system that, for most families, all but forces one parent to drop out of the workforce.
An obvious place to start? The Anchorage School District currently uses federal funds to run pre-K programs in areas that are more socioeconomically challenged and where schools offer free or reduced lunches. About 700 kids are on the waitlist. We can get them into the classroom.
Working with community partners, Anchorage has been laying the groundwork to deploy a crisis-intervention team to take the place of law enforcement when responding to individuals in mental-health crisis. Anchorage Police are highly effective at protecting our community, but responding to non-violent individuals in crisis shouldn't be their job. Anchorage needs to join communities across the nation by investing smarter, not just more, in public safety and community health.
Anchorage needs better quality, more affordable housing. We should incentivize both new construction and rehabilitation of our existing housing stock. Growth in affordable housing must be targeted and smart, with revitalized neighborhoods that are walkable and connect residents to transit and workplaces.
Adding solar power to Anchorage’s energy mix can save taxpayer dollars, makes critical services more resilient, and boosts energy security for all by conserving local natural gas.
Solar panels have made Fire Station 10 in Bear Valley completely self-sufficient for several hours a day. If the station loses power, rooftop solar will keep the backup generators running longer, ensuring that the station can function in an emergency. We’ve also installed the state’s largest rooftop solar array at the Egan Center downtown. The city has many more rooftops with the potential to host solar. We’ll find the projects that make sense and get them done.
We can improve quality of life for Anchorage residents and drive tourism dollars to our community by focusing on one of our city’s best features—our world-class parks and trails.
Anchorage’s trails connect our city, ease traffic congestion, and keep our minds and bodies healthy all year long. They’re a key part of what makes Anchorage a great place to live, work and play. Investments to ensure that our parks and trails remain clean, safe, and welcoming are critical.
With creative marketing, our parks and trails should also become signature attractions, unlocking additional tourism dollars by encouraging visitors to Alaska to stay an extra day or two in Anchorage.
Maintaining and spotlighting one of Anchorage’s best assets is an easy win to improve the mental, physical, and economic health of our community.
All thriving cities in America have at least one world-class university. We should foster greater innovation and stronger alliances between UAA, APU, and our city government.
UAA has been a key part of Anchorage’s COVID response. Our new and continuing partnerships with UAA are helping the municipality make smarter, better decisions. And the data we’re sharing with UAA is opening new research frontiers, while expanding opportunities for students.
Creating a permanent and more formal research and policy relationship with our local universities is an all-around win.