The race for the new city of Fairbanks mayor is more than a year away but three candidates are already getting ready.
Aaron Lojewski, David Pruhs and Valerie Therrien sent letters of intent for the city mayor position that will be up for election in October 2022, according documents filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. Submitting letters of intent early helps candidates kick off their campaigns and start raising money.
Lojewski serves as a deputy presiding officer on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly. In his role, he said he has been helping the borough save money for building maintenance and for evaluation and construction of various borough projects. Lojewski said he consistently voted against “wasteful government spending and worked towards a more efficient government and lower taxes.”
“When it comes to the city, public safety, police, fire and road maintenance come to mind as top priorities for budgeting,” he said. “I do not believe we need new taxes. When I see government waste, I will work to eliminate it.”
Outside of local politics, Lojewski works as an aurora photographer and tour guide and is proud to have started his own “successful visitor industry business" that “made it through the pandemic in one piece.” He is originally from Colorado but has lived in Fairbanks for 15 years.
A life-long Fairbanksan, Pruhs also plans to run for city mayor.
“I would be a very good mayor for the city of Fairbanks,” he said. “As the host of the (local talk radio show) 'Problem Corner,' I talk with Fairbanksans and Alaskans about Fairbanks extensively.”
In his political career, Pruhs served six years on the Fairbanks City Council, eight years on the borough Planning Commission, eight years on the Board of Equalization and four years as a commissioner on the State of Alaska Real Estate Commission. In addition, Pruhs is a founding member of the Clay Street Cemetery Commission and the founder of the Polaris Group.
“I believe all of this history has prepared me to do an outstanding job as the city mayor,” he said. “My love and devotion to the city of Fairbanks is well known.”
Therrien, an attorney, announced her intention to run for mayor in May, saying that her experience as a city council member and a former borough assembly member will help her lead the city.
“My goal for our future is to focus on where we want the city to be in the next 10 years,” she wrote in the letter to the editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
One of the main issues Therrien wants to focus on is providing ambulance service without having to stack calls.
“Our city has been working hard to provide this service to our seniors, but as our community grows grayer, we will need to have more paramedics trained to help our seniors,” she said.
Therrien also expressed her support of the efforts of the Polaris Group, downtown development, and staffing and training the police department.
Contact staff writer Alena Naiden at 459-7587. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMlocal.