Running for office

David C. Alexander is running for a seat on the Denali Borough Assembly. Kris Capps/News-Miner

David C. Alexander is a candidate for the Denali Borough Assembly Seat B, McKinley Village area.

It is the only contested race on the ballot. His opponent, Gregg S. Smith, has not yet responded to requests from the News-Miner for information.

Alexander came to Alaska eight years ago to work as a seasonal ranger at Wonder Lake in Denali National Park.

“This area has given me so much,” he said. “A job, a partner, a beautiful house, a nice community. I just wanted to give something back.”

He met his wife, Jakara, at Denali. They own a home in the McKinley Village area.

Before coming to Alaska, Alexander led a very different life. For 25 years, he worked in the business side of magazine publishing, starting at Newsweek and ending as circulation director at Psychology Today.

“I put up with big city life for a long while,” he said. “But eventually decided to go back to school.”

He earned a masters degree in environmental management.

“And here I am,” he said. “A decade removed from that crowded, urban world. A happy, fat-tire biking, salmon dip-netting, hoping-to-be-someday-a-real-Alaskan.”

“It’s never too late to try something new,” he said.

The seat was previously held by Jake Hill, who did not run for re-election.

Alexander has no previous experience in holding office for local government but is anxious to learn.

“The borough faces a budget shortfall,” he said. “That certainly has got to be dealt with. One of the difficulties I think with local government is balancing everyones’ desire for independence, self-sufficiency with community action and working together with community. Finding the right balance is not necessarily an easy thing to do.”

He supports the proposition on the Denali Borough ballot that would permit government meetings to continue to be held online when needed. He thinks these meetings can add transparency and limit folks driving long distances to attend monthly meetings.

“The more people who are aware of what is going on and the actual issues the better,” he said.

Zoom meetings were instituted when Covid hit. The borough charter must be revised in order for those meetings to continue.

Alexander is a bicycle rider, a backpacker and cross-country skier. He is also trained as an emergency medical technician. He feels invested in the community, as a homeowner and community member.

“I have a good background in both business and in environment,” he said. “I’m responsible when it comes to money matters.”

A combination of things are important for the borough’s economic health, including promoting tourism, he said.

“I interact a fair amount with the businesses in Kantishna,” he said.

“I’m especially aware of the problem Covid brought, reduced number of people, shortage of workers.”

The spruce bark beetle infestation is creeping into the Denali Borough from the south, devastating acres of spruce trees. That and the loss of bed tax revenue due to Covid may seem beyond the borough’s control, he said.

“But if our culture of self-sufficiency and independence is balanced with community action, we can mitigate some of the negative consequences,” he said. “My hope is to encourage united action to protect property and community safety, as well as to responsibly maintain our tourism-based economy.

“Ultimately,” he said. “That depends on the preservation of the natural splendor and recreational opportunities that made us all fall for this special place.”

“I am a year-round McKinley Village resident who shares your concerns and values and I am asking you to allow me to be your representative,” he said, in a Facebook post to area residents.

He can be reached at davidcharlesalexander@gmail.com.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/FDNMKris.

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