Anti-incumbent mood prevails in Fairbanks

Posted: Friday, October 08, 2010

FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks voters were in a mood to send incumbents packing.

In elections Tuesday, incumbent Mayor Terry Strle lost to City Councilman Jerry Cleworth. Boroughwide, long-time Assemblyman Guy Sattley was replaced by former parks director Karl Kassel, and incumbent Hank Bartos lost to radio talk show host Michael Dukes.

"There is a feeling among a lot of voters in the United States: Throw the bums out," former Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblyman Randy Frank told the Daily News-Miner. "Maybe a little bit of that got into the local races."

Dukes is likely to be one of the most-watched newcomers on the assembly. The host of "The Michael Dukes Show" is not shy about lambasting politicians and ideas with which he disagrees. He says he expects to continue a lively show despite his new role as a voting member of the government.

"There's plenty of things to discuss," Dukes said. "We have always got to be critically thinking about our government. We don't hate the government. We want it to be efficient. We want it to run properly."

Assemblyman Tim Beck said voters have asked for new faces.

"It will be interesting to see how these new members work within the system," he said. "You can no longer sit back and throw darts. The people have said, 'You fix it now."'

Assemblyman Joe Blanchard said a proposition limiting the borough's pollution-control authority was key to the results.

The Borough Assembly in June approved a plan sponsored by Mayor Luke Hopkins preventing residents from installing old, dirty wood stoves and from deluging their neighbors with noxious smoke.

A proposition reversing major components of the plan passed by a 60 percent margin.

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