Anchorage Alaska is best known for its trails, wildlife, and glaciers. It was also voted as being one of the best cities to live in during the winter. With it being home to over 292,090 people, is this city considered liberal or conservative?
Anchorage, Alaska is a conservative city. In the last six presidential elections, five were in favor of the republican candidates, while one was for the democratic party in 2020. Anchorage’s mayor, Dave Bronson, is Republican and his policies and stances are conservative.
With this city having so much to offer, why is it important to know if it’s conservative? See why Anchorage’s political views make it unique and why it has an effect on the people living there below.
Anchorage is Alaska’s biggest and most populous city located in the south-central part of the state in Anchorage County. It’s home to nearly 40% of Alaska’s total population, with a steady decrease every year since 2017 of .89%. Of the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents living in its largest city.
It’s home to thousands of families, as it caters more to a family-friendly environment, aiding to the youthful and energetic feel it captures with the majority of its population being in their mid-twenties and a median age of about 34 years old.
This city also prides itself on having a variety of diversity. The largest group is Caucasian with 61%, 9.82% is Asian, 5.31% are black, and 7.5% are Native or American Indian. Hawaiian or other pacific islanders is 2.85% of the population, and the rest of the population is considered “others” when it comes to race (2.36%), or they are a mix of two or more races (10.97%).
With there being so many people and different varieties of people, Anchorage is also preparing to experience one of the greatest growth spurts in its history with the population. So, why are so many people making their way over to Anchorage?
Well, most of this could be due to the adventurous atmosphere, impressive culture and arts, and fascinating outdoor elements like trails, wildlife, and the mesmerizing northern lights. Or could it have something to do with the healthcare, friendly dynamic communities, and livability? Not to mention the conservative laws lining up with what the majority of the population relies on.
But what other views and policies make this place so welcoming?
Mayoral Voting History
Mayor Dave Bronson has shown great gratification in the progress of Anchorage since 2021 when he was elected. While mayoral elections in Anchorage are nonpartisan, he has shown that he is affiliated with the Republican party in various ways.
With his political views influencing his procedures, he emphasizes his belief in establishing tax incentives to aid in the economic recovery, increase the number of officers in the police department to prevent high crime rates, and address the issues of homelessness by working with faith-based organizations to provide help with drug and alcohol abuse, rather than using public facilities as homeless shelters.
His stances align with the conservative belief that firm economic growth is the most effective path to lower unemployment rates.
Presidential Voting History
Alaska entered the union in 1959 and participated in its first presidential election in 1960. They were given 3 electoral votes, which has stayed the same ever since. Since that first election, the people of Alaska have voted consistently for Republican candidates, with only one vote going for the Democratic party in 1964.
This includes the 2020 election, as Alaska voted for Donald Trump over Joe Biden.
Even though the state on its own is conservative, Anchorage’s politics aren’t so easy to distinguish. The municipality county tilts the scales just enough to be classified as leaning liberal. This flip to democracy took place recently in 2020, with 49.5% of residents voting democrat and 46.4% voting republican.
The greater Anchorage Metropolitan Area, however, is along the same percentages as the rest of the state with conservative views and is the focus of the information given here.
The republican party holds the majority in the Senate.
Alaska’s state senate works alongside the Governor in establishing the state budget, passing bills on public policy matters raising and lowering taxes, and voting to uphold or override gubernatorial vetoes.
Anchorage’s senator is Lisa Murkowski, who is part of the Republican party, and she is an advocate for energy, public land issues, and passionately focuses on job creation and economic growth, as well as higher standards of living and global stability, which contributes to the conservative agenda of Anchorage.
House of Representatives
The Alaska House of Representatives is also in power by the Republican party majority.
These representatives are, like the federal government, split up into branches. Their main duties are to create, modify, and update laws. With the control given to republicans, most of the laws currently in motion as well as in practice reflect the viewpoints of the conservative side.
Alaska has a divided government where neither party holds a trifecta. The Republican party rules the upper chamber of the state legislature, and the lower chamber is split between parties.
From 1992 to 2022, the democratic party has never had a trifecta, whereas the republican party has had six.
Of the 35.1% of religious people in the greater metropolitan area in Anchorage, the majority congregate to some branch of Christianity. Social conservatives find value in keeping those traditions alive, and desire for these constructs to be rooted in family and religion.
It also helps that some of the religious values fall in line with conservative standards. For example, 5.3% belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, more commonly known as “Mormons”. Their religious views have shown to lean more towards the republican party and show conservative voting patterns reflected in previous elections.
Senator Murkowski has also fought for passing a bipartisan gun safety bill that was signed by 14 other Republicans in agreement. She has stated that she believes that it’s responsible without infringing on Second Amendment rights.
If this bill is passed, it would toughen background checks for people under 21 looking to purchase a firearm, protect victims of domestic violence, and require people who sell guns as primary sources of income to register as licensed dealers. It would also fund mental health resources and improve school safety.
Anchorage, being the center of it all in Alaska, made its economy effective through the railroad, businesses, transportation, education, healthcare, energy development, military presence, and the tourist industry.
Its road and train system connects communities that do business throughout the state, making it an ideal location.
On top of that, its healthcare facilities and prestigious academic institutions play a vital role, as well as the towering hotels and attractions to accommodate tourists.
However, with the decrease in population over the past several years, the economy has been less than desirable. Before Mayor Bronson was elected into office, the local officials continued to tax and spend, despite the devastation. With that, more jobs were left unfilled, and money that the city didn’t have, was spent in a vain attempt to gain prosperity.
From there, he vowed to sustain a balanced budget without increased taxation to require reducing costs and streamlining services, as well as improving the overall Anchorage economy by making it easier for both large and small businesses to operate successfully.
This plan of operation and execution has stemmed steady amounts of growth since he took the position and caused the community to see the benefits of his conservative views.
Mayor Bronson’s views as a conservative reflect similar priorities he finds as a republican official. Some of these come down to effective tax laws that he dedicates his time to fulfilling.
These included his promises not to implement sales taxes, which, as of 2022, have a combined total of 0% from the county and city.
He also promised not to replace alternative taxes to circumvent the voter-approved municipal tax cap, not inflate property assessments, and not eliminate the senior property tax exemptions.
However, Alaska does have a max local sales tax rate of 7.5% and an average combined state and local sales tax rate of 1.76%. This tax system ranks 3rd in the 2022 State Business Tax Climate Index.
Since 2020, Anchorage has shown to have a high property tax of 1.32%, well above the national average, due in part to the transfer of a school bond debt reimbursement burden from the state to local taxpayers.
Is This the City for You?
Though it’s surrounded by a county with leaning liberal views, Anchorage Alaska is a conservative city.
It represents such perspectives with its leadership regularly taking republican standpoints, as well as by the people’s voting history normally going towards the elected officials that match their views, and the rest of the state’s majority.
Needless to say, both parties have pros and cons to policies and procedures. But if you’re looking for a place that is progressive, diverse, vibrant, and meets your conservative opinions, and you don’t mind the chilly winter months, Anchorage may be the place you are looking for.
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