Anchorage, Alaska Gets Its First Female and Openly Gay Mayor

Anchorage, Alaska

Photo Credit: Chance Horner/Shutterstock

After the resignation of existing Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Anchorage, Alaska, will usher in a new, history-making era: An openly gay woman will come on as acting mayor.

The Anchorage Assembly voted in Austin Quinn-Davidson as the new chair and, as per city charter, the Assembly chair will serve as acting mayor during a vacancy, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

The publication reported earlier this week that Berkowitz was compelled to resign after an anchor/reporter for stations KTBY and KYUR waged sexual-misconduct allegations against him. Despite the Anchorage Police Department and FBI finding no evidence that the allegations were true, on Monday, Berkowitz admitted to having an inappropriate relationship and was pushed to resign by “top staff members.”

I think the most important role of a mayor right now is to inspire trust in government and to make people feel at ease during a time that is pretty tumultuous.

Quinn-Davidson will step into Berkowitz’s shoes as the first woman and openly gay individual to serve as mayor or acting mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage. First elected to the Assembly in 2018 and re-elected this year, Quinn-Davidson said of the opportunity that “at first, I was very resistant, because it is a big task,” but she has since changed her tune.

“I think the most important role of a mayor right now is to inspire trust in government and to make people feel at ease during a time that is pretty tumultuous,” she told the Anchorage Daily News. “I think revitalizing the economy and ensuring that small businesses can survive and that people can get back to work is key. Of course, that interplays with public health and safety, and those two are so aligned, we need to work together on both."

It’s unknown how long Quinn-Davidson will serve as acting mayor, as the Associated Press notes that the “city’s charter is ambiguous as to how a permanent mayor should be selected.” A special election could be held 90 days after Berkowitz’s resignation takes effect or Quinn-Davidson could serve as acting mayor until a regular election scheduled for April takes place.


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