6 aim to be mayor of Alaska’s oil-rich North Slope Borough

By Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Dispatch News - September 13, 2017

Six candidates have filed to run for mayor of the massive, oil-rich North Slope Borough, with the election set for Oct. 3.

Incumbent Harry Brower is running for re-election; he won a special election to a partial term last year after his sister-in-law, Charlotte Brower, was recalled by voters after news reports that questioned borough spending.

Among the five candidates challenging Harry Brower is his own nephew, Frederick Brower, the borough’s risk manager and a son of Charlotte Brower. Neither Harry nor Frederick immediately responded to a request for comment Monday.

The other candidates are James Martin, William Hopson, Ned Arey and Delbert Rexford, according to a list provided by the borough clerk, Sheila Burke.

The borough stretches more than 600 miles across the northern part of Alaska and is roughly the size of Oregon. It levies taxes on the North Slope’s extensive oil and gas infrastructure and uses the proceeds to finance its $375 million annual budget, which is spread across eight communities and about 10,000 permanent residents.

The borough itself is a major employer, with about 1,000 jobs, according to its yearly financial statement.

Harry Brower, in a Facebook post last month, described himself as excited about a second term in spite of his initial skepticism about running for the job last year. He also ticked off more than 30 accomplishments and pointed out that his first year on the job was scandal-free.

“Responsible government requires a leader who can lead by example. You can perform a Google search on my name and NOT obtain information that would embarrass the borough,” the post said.

Frederick Brower has his own campaign Facebook page setting out several planks in his platform, from “fiscal accountability” to capital construction projects. He said in one post that he wants to offer “new and innovative infrastructure and management,” since “how we’ve ‘always done things’ doesn’t work for our future.”