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Politics

Four FNSB Assembly Seats and Two School Board

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Robyne
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Voters returned two incumbents to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly and put two new members on the body. Two new school board members were also elected. About 12,000 people voted in the borough and school district election. KUAC reached candidates who were watching results at the Operators’ Local 302 hall and at the Borough Assembly Chambers.

Mindy O’Neall has been in her Borough Assembly Seat C seat for about two months. She was appointed to fill out the term of Andrew Gray, who resigned this summer. She will now return to the seat after receiving 6,122 of the votes cast yesterday. She beat Jeff Rentzel in a close race. He had 5,218 votes from yesterday’s tally.  O’Neall says the campaign broadened her outlook on borough citizens.

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Credit Robyne
Supporter Hayden Neville celebrates with Mindy O'Neall, who won Borough Assembly Seat C, with Crystal Tidwell.

“I met people in the community that opened my eyes to issues that I hadn’t considered or perspectives that were different from my own, that were great. And really gave me a better understanding of who we are.”

Mathew Cooper is the Presiding Officer of the Assembly. Voters returned him to Seat I with 6,418 votes, over Zachary Floyd with 4,619. Cooper said the next term will be challenging.

“I think my focus has shifted over the last four years from things I thought I wanted to do, to now dealing with the situation at hand, which is, what do we do locally faced with budget issues at the state level; how do we maintain services at a price that’s affordable for borough residents. I think these are going to be issues that are really hard to deal with over the next several years.”

Jimi Cash was reached by phone on his way home, because he planned to get up before five this morning to go to work. He won Seat E with 5,057 votes, beating three other candidates including incumbent Jeff Wildridge. Cash said running for office was a lot more work than he expected, but he learned a lot.

“This has been a very positive experience. There were four people going up for this seat. All three of the other guys have been great gentlemen.  A lot of respect for all of them. We all want what we believe to be the best for the borough.”

Frank Tomaszewski (Tahm-ah-SHEV-skee) won Seat B in a four-way race, with 5,552 votes displacing incumbent Shaun Tacke, with 4,235. Those numbers will change as Absentee and Questioned ballots are counted, but those votes will likely not affect the outcome.

Two new school board members were voted in. Matthew Sampson won over Brandon Boylan and Kimba Manning for School Board Seat C.

Jennifer Luke won Seat D over Mike Kenna. She said campaigning took her to many public events, including a candidate forum put on by high school students.

“I don’t’ think I was nervous anywhere else, other than the West Valley student forum. I told the students, ‘I don’t want this conversation to end today. If I get on this board, I want to continue having these conversations with you, because your voice matters.”

About 18 percent of the people who could have voted in the borough cast their ballots yesterday or earlier.  

12,019 votes were counted on Tuesday, and 2,143 from the absentee process or at polls with questioned ballots will be counted by October 8.