Two long-time city politicians won the race for the two open Fairbanks City Council seats. In North Pole, the current mayor Mike Welch and the only candidate for the North Pole council, David Skipps, won.
Fairbanks City Council Seat A
Former city mayor and city councilman Jerry Cleworth won the race for the Fairbanks City Council Seat B. He received 1,801 votes, beating by 555 votes Shoshana Kun who hoped to get re-elected and received 1,246 votes.
“We are pleased with it, very very happy,” Cleworth said about the race on Tuesday night. “It’s been a good positive campaign, we tried very hard to get the message across.”
Cleworth says that he is excited to jump immediately into work on city budget which he is very familiar with from his work at the city’s Finance committee and City Council.
Voter Ellie Richter said she voted for Cleworth because he is fiscally conservative and responsible. She said that he “put a lot of effort into saving money when he was in office, and then he retired, and it got blown away and he's like ‘Well this is stupid. I'm coming back.'”
Cleworth’s opponent Kun is an advocate for substance abuse sufferers. She stands for fair union contracts, more people in the police department, bonuses for hiring and retention as well as transparent and modern city administration.
Fairbanks City Council Seat B
June Rogers is the winner for the Fairbanks City Council Seat B, who with 1,588 votes beat a long-time pastor Jonathan Bagwilll by 233 votes.
“It's very reassuring that virtually anyone can determine if they want to contribute by running for a position, not having any sort of construct backing you up but still win," Rogers said.
She said she values community dialogue and engagement, and one of the voters, Naomi Jamkowki, said she chose Rogers because she prioritized collaboration.
Rogers, the former executive director of the Fairbanks Arts Association, has balanced art performances with administrative work in her career. She is also an advocate for the homeless population and people suffering from substance abuse.
Rogers said her first term on the city council taught her the importance of keeping your calm in times of difficult discussions and of finding the best solution for every situation.
At 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Rogers waited for the results in the Borough building, despite an early morning city Finance Committee meeting the next day.
“The work is there,” she said. “It just needs some of us to do it.”
Rogers’ opponent, Bagwill, is a pastor and former serviceman who served on the City Council in 2017. Some of his priorities are the city’s safety, community dialogue and having a simple government.
In North Pole, the mayor Mike Welch was re-elected for his second term, receiving 135 votes and winning over North Pole City Council member Thomas McGhee by 27 votes.
Welch will hold the seat for another three years and said he wants to make sure North Pole meets the demands of a growing population, while having a better-staffed police department and an efficient city budget. Welch previously served as a council member for several terms, as well as the city’s deputy mayor and the city of North Pole’s first audit and finance chairman.
His opponent McGhee has lived in North Pole for 26 years and ran to support the community and small businesses.
David Skipps was the only candidate for two seats on the North Pole council. He took one of the seats with 200 votes. Additionally, 22 votes were cast for write-in candidates. It is unclear at this time how the second, vacant seat will be filled.