One of aspects I enjoy about serving on the Anchorage Assembly is the opportunity to work with a wide variety of people to address disparate issues. In doing so I am frequently reminded that whatever our differences we are usually more alike than not and can often find common ground to solve problems. That’s another way of saying that there’s more to folks than media depictions can portray.
Viewed through that prism it may not surprise you to learn that I’ve worked quite a bit with Dan Coffey in the past year. Some of that work has been proscribed; we’re co-chairs of the legislative committee, we’re both on the Ethics & Elections committee and we both served on the ad hoc committee to study the South Central Alaska Power Project Participation Agreement. Other instances stem from our mutual interests in subjects like trying to help chronic inebriates and supporting public transit.
We certainly have philosophical differences, and frequently exchange gentle barbs to that effect, but I appreciate Mr. Coffey’s desire to find ways to move our community forward and would like to think he feels the same about me. Certainly that seemed to be the case when we worked with Mike Abbott, Anchorage‘s city manager, to prepare amendments that ultimately sliced about $15 million from the bond proposals that will appear on the ballot in April. We both felt a need to provide some level of taxpayer relief and, through some give and take, found a way to do that.
What I don’t know is how much longer I’ll get to work with Mr. Coffey. He has mentioned several times that he’s run his last election and his term ends in 2010, which would indicate about one more year. That said, there’s a rumor floating around that if Dan Sullivan wins the mayor’s race he’ll hire Dan Coffey to be his chief of staff. In that case I might be working with Mr. Coffey a little longer, but in a very different way. Given my druthers I’d prefer to keep working with Mr. Coffey as an Assembly member both because of the efficacy of the current dynamic and because I prefer a different mayoral candidate. Either way, things will work themselves out.
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