Local 71 Clarifies Position on Anchorage Mayoral Election


Today our bargaining unit was forced to clarify our official position on the Anchorage Mayoral Election. We provided the following notification to the Dave Bronson for Mayor campaign which is attached and is quoted below.

Dave Bronson, Candidate

1407 W 31st Ave, Suite 100,

Anchorage, Alaska 99503

6 May 2021


Mr. Bronson,

Thank you for putting your name forward to run for office in the Anchorage mayoral election. I believe wholeheartedly in the power of the people and their right to decide their own governance.  Our country, and our unions are founded on these principles.

Today, I find myself in the unfortunate position of informing you that your recent mailer quoting Todd Peplow constituted an unauthorized and invalid endorsement, which must be corrected. To be clear: Public Employees Local 71 has not endorsed your candidacy, and I must correct this misinformation publicly.

In utilizing his official title and purporting to speak for “hundreds of union members,” Mr. Peplow has violated our LIUNA Constitution, longstanding protocols for candidate discussions, accepted procedures, and the expressed direction of both our Executive Board and General Membership provided to him following extensive debate on 13 March 2021 and 17 April 2021. 

I am disappointed that we have not had the opportunity to speak with you prior to these events, as we have consistently invited Mr. Peplow and reminded him to please invite you to call me directly, or to facilitate a discussion with our leadership or our members, which has been ignored for more than a year, since you announced your candidacy. Local 71 has held a longstanding policy of only contributing to or endorsing candidates who reach out to us and are able to communicate to us the value their election would bring to our membership. In repeatedly reminding Mr. Peplow to facilitate any discussion with you, we were informed that you “were not seeking union support.”  Even so, we reminded and encouraged Mr. Peplow that we welcome the opportunity to talk to all candidates, and that if he had concerns regarding your opponent, that the proper course of action was to introduce you to us, so that we could hear directly from you about your positions on supporting our members. Because we were not afforded this opportunity, we have made decisions based on the information we have at our disposal.

What we know about Forrest Dunbar is that he has consistently supported the essential work provided by our members employed by the Municipality of Anchorage and actively sought to improve their working conditions and workplace rights. He has attended our general membership meetings to invite dialogue and answer hard questions. And, he has initiated contact seeking our support, which was relayed to our members when we explained why we had dispersed $1,000.00 to his election campaign in a letter to members this March. At that time, Mr. Peplow made a motion that he send a separate correspondence to members stating the reasons why he wanted to endorse your candidacy. That motion was heavily debated, and consequently denied by the whole of our board, which includes a weight of conservative voters.  In lending his official title to your mailer and purporting to speak for “hundreds of union members,” Mr. Peplow violated expressed direction from his own board and membership.

Labor is not a partisan issue. Local 71 remains committed to endorsing candidates that support our members regardless of party affiliation or issues outside our workplace rights. Our membership represents a diversity of political affiliations, and we want to talk to all candidates representing all party affiliations regardless of the outcome of endorsements.  We see such discussions as an opportunity to educate all candidates to the issues important to our members. Our union has a history of supporting all measures of candidates including well-known conservatives, which runs long and strong.  We recently endorsed and actively supported both U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young.  Our endorsed slate of Alaska House & Senate candidates included multiple party affiliations (D, I, R, U, & V) and was generally equally divided. We even endorsed and contributed to Governor Dunleavy in 2018.

Unfortunately, the only arguments Mr. Peplow has brought to our membership to deny Mr. Dunbar support have been based on his personal non-union issues related to lifestyle and actions of Mr. Dunbar’s family.  Had he made enough of a case to support your candidacy, our membership would have taken action to do so a mere two weeks prior to Mr. Peplow acting on his own and disregarding our members direction that they approve all endorsements.  There was always the possibility of dual endorsements, dual contributions, or none to either candidate. The proper avenues to achieve such action were regularly conveyed to Mr. Peplow, and yet were rejected. The actions he took were unauthorized, invalid, and must be rescinded.

Since your own public statements indicate that you would “cut everything but police,” we are left with the impression that would also mean the essential services our members provide, upon which police, fire, and the public rely. Without our services, roads are not cleared, facilities are not operational, and schools are unable to accommodate a much-needed return to the classroom. The information publicly available and provided by your campaign to date serves to undermine rather than support our membership, which precludes our ability to endorse you.

I hope this correspondence provides an explanation for our need to publicly clarify that your candidacy has NOT been endorsed by our union.  Our door remains open to discussions here at Local 71, and I wish all candidates the best as the people decide this election.



Jordan A. Adams,

Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, Local 71