OPINION: Popp will lead on the economy for Anchorage

By Lon Wilson and Mark Filipenko

Updated: 1 hour ago Published: 1 hour ago

As influential Anchorage business leaders and integral members of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) nonprofit board, we’ve witnessed the tumultuous shifts in our economy, from the global financial crisis to the oil boom and subsequent crash in 2014, the Anchorage recession and the recent challenges of the COVID-19 disaster. With 18,000 jobs lost in Anchorage since 2015, achieving full economic recovery demands a mayor intimately acquainted with our economic landscape. Bill Popp stands as the mayor who not only comprehends the intricacies but envisions a prosperous future for Anchorage and is equipped to navigate the challenges ahead.

We have both worked with Popp during his 16-and-a-half years as president and CEO of AEDC. In his many years at AEDC, Popp has been at the forefront of our city’s economy in both good and bad times. He has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs and local business owners with their needs. Popp has marketed Anchorage nationally and internationally to attract new investment in our city. He played a key role in attracting new investments to our community like Bass Pro Shops and the new $200 million NorthLink Air Cargo logistics facility at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. And he has been a steady and clear-eyed provider of perspective about the state of our economy, both to the business community and the public.

In 2010, Popp engaged the AEDC board in a conversation about the looming challenges of attracting and retaining younger workers in our city. With Popp’s advice and support, the AEDC Board launched the Live.Work.Play. initiative to improve the quality of life as a needed strategy to compete for workers. Positive outcomes of this initiative included increased collaborative initiatives in arts and culture, education, young professionals’ engagement, and changes in municipal zoning to allow for mixed-use developments and the first changes adopted in decades regarding accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

In 2022, Popp proposed to the AEDC Board a major reassessment of Anchorage’s economy and workforce to relaunch AEDC’s efforts to spark needed changes in our city. After a year of community engagement, collaboration and research, AEDC announced the Choose Anchorage initiative that focuses on four interconnected aspects of Anchorage: talent, business vitality, quality of place, and infrastructure. AEDC has now built a growing alliance of community and business organizations focused on these four aspects of Anchorage to make our city a more attractive city for working-age adults to move to and make their homes, encourage our youth to stay, and attract new investment. It was Popp’s knowledge, perspectives, leadership, and dedication to Anchorage that were demonstrated in his deeds and actions while at AEDC.

No one else running for mayor can explain the complex activities related to the consumption, production, and trade of goods and services in simple, straightforward terms like Popp. No other candidate has a broad and detailed knowledge of national and international trends affecting our economy, workforce, and city’s overall health. And Popp is the only candidate who will work to bring both sides of the political aisle together to get things done.

Popp has the knowledge, experience, and vision to lead our city toward a bright future. He is the mayoral candidate who will truly help our city reach its full potential for growth and prosperity for all.

A new dawn will soon rise for Anchorage. But we need the right mayor to realize all the opportunities this new day will bring for our city. Our confidence in Popp as the best candidate for mayor of Anchorage is absolute. We need Popp to lead our city to success. Join us in voting for Popp Popp for mayor on April 2.

Lon Wilson is an operating partner with the Alera Group. Mark Filipenko is a broker with Bond Filipenko Commercial Properties LLC. Both have been involved in Anchorage’s business community for years.

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