Ethan Berkowitz’s time in the mayor’s office is winding down, so the question of who succeeds him becomes more important as we inch closer to 2021. There are three likely contenders within the Democratic Party — Forrest Dunbar, Dick Traini, and Eric Croft. All three have their strengths and weaknesses and any one of them would be a good choice for the Democratic Party to put up.
But on the right side of the aisle who are the possible contenders? There is one man who I believe the Republican Party should put forward to run for mayor and who I believe could win. That man is Mead Treadwell. Mead would be an excellent choice for a number of reasons and all of them make him someone that the Republican Party should be reaching out to.
First and foremost, Mead has extensive experience at the state and federal level. He served in the Hickel Administration in the 1990’s as the deputy commissioner of the Dept. of Environmental Conservation and later served as the chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. He also served for over four years as the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska. During that time he worked to establish contact with other arctic nations to build a diplomatic, as well as an economic relationship with the state of Alaska. That experience is greatly needed for the city of Anchorage as the state continues to work through the fiscal problems it faces.
We need a mayor who can navigate the landmines of the present statewide situation so that the city comes out with as few bruises as possible. The second reason Mead would be a wise choice for the Republicans is the international business contacts he has established in his thirty years of business activity. He has been to the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland and built contacts all over the word in different economic sectors, especially in regards to the tech industry which will play a bigger role in the global economy. He is a co-founder of PT Capital Management which is a hedge fund that invests in only arctic nations. That hedge fund has a wide portfolio in everything from hotels to transportation to banking in all eight arctic nations. Mead knows how to put together business deals in the millions and even billions of dollar range. We need a mayor who can bring an international reach for the city; someone who can sit with leadership of Fortune 500 companies and make the case for investment in Anchorage. A case in point would be Amazon, which does not have a hangar at the Anchorage Airport. Mead, through previous companies he has founded and sold off, has had dealings with the leadership of Amazon. Those contacts could be useful in getting that firm to invest in Anchorage and develop a cargo hub here.
Another critical factor is that Mead has been a longtime resident of downtown Anchorage and understands the challenges faced by the downtown area from chronic homelessness and the public health and safety issues the current administration has failed to address. Lastly, from a campaign perspective, the party needs a candidate who will have a broad reach across the aisle to independents and non-partisans. Mead is a moderate Republican who has always had a broad appeal across the political spectrum and with his campaign experience would be a formidable opponent for any of the contenders the Democrats put forward.
At this point in time the party does not have anyone with the stature and experience to enter into the mayor’s race who would have a reasonable shot at victory. Therefore the party needs to begin a conversation now in terms of candidate recruitment and hopefully they can get Mead to enter into the race. If they don’t, and put up a lesser candidate, then the Democratic Party is going to maintain control of the mayor’s office.