Ethan Berkowitz

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Ethan Berkowitz
Ethan Berkowitz.jpg
Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska
Assumed office
July 1, 2015
Preceded by Dan Sullivan
Member of the Alaska House of Representatives
from the 26th District
In office
January 21, 2003 – January 15, 2007
Preceded by redistricted
Succeeded by Lindsey Holmes
Member of the Alaska House of Representatives
from the 13th District
In office
January 13, 1997 – January 20, 2003
Preceded by Cynthia Toohey
Succeeded by redistricted
Personal details
Born (1962-02-04) February 4, 1962 (age 53)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mara Kimmel
Alma mater Harvard University
University of Cambridge
University of California, Hastings
Religion Judaism

Ethan A. Berkowitz (born February 4, 1962) is an American politician who is the Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska. He was previously the Alaska State Representative for District 26 from 1997 through 2007, serving as the Democratic Party Minority Leader from 1999 to 2007. He was the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2006, for Alaska's at-large congressional district in 2008 and for Governor in 2010. He was elected Mayor of Anchorage in 2015.

Early life and education[edit]

Berkowitz was born on February 4, 1962 in San Francisco, California. He received his degrees from Harvard College (1983, government and economics, with honors), Cambridge University (MPhil, polar studies, 1986), and The University of California Hastings College of Law (1990). He moved to Alaska in 1990 and is a lawyer and business owner.[1]

Political career[edit]

Alaska House of Representatives[edit]

Further information: 24th Alaska State Legislature

Berkowitz was the Democratic Minority Leader in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007. He was first elected to represent District 26 (Anchorage) in 1996, and then re-elected in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004.

2006 campaign[edit]

In the 2006 election, Berkowitz was the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, running with gubernatorial nominee Tony Knowles. Knowles and Berkowitz were defeated in the general election by Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell, losing by 48% to 41%.

2008 campaign[edit]

In 2008, Berkowitz ran for election as U.S. Representative for Alaska's At-large congressional district, held by scandal-plagued Republican Don Young, who was seeking his nineteenth term in Congress. Berkowitz defeated Diane Benson in the August 26 Democratic primary by a substantial margin. [2]

The initial results from the general election on November 4, 2008, showed Young leading the race, but with many absentee and provisional ballots left to be counted, the race was not called. On November 12, 2008, the media declared that Young, 75, had retained his seat in the United States House of Representatives, for his 19th term. Young received 50% of the vote compared to Berkowitz's 45%.[3][4]

Berkowitz himself conceded defeat on November 18, 2008, after counting of absentee and provisional ballots had mostly been completed and Young had a clearly insurmountable lead. Berkowitz received more votes in 2008 (142,560) than any Democrat who had ever run against Young for Congress, and the 2008 race was the closest any Democrat had come to unseating Young since 1990, when John Devens of Valdez received 48% of the vote.[5]

2010 campaign[edit]

Berkowitz indicated he was interested in challenging incumbent Governor Sarah Palin before her surprise resignation in 2009.[6] Berkowitz entered the race despite Palin's resignation and on August 24, 2010 he defeated State Senator, Hollis S. French to win the Democratic nomination. He and running mate for Lieutenant Governor Diane E. Benson faced incumbent Republican Governor Sean Parnell in the November general election and were defeated by a margin of 59% to 38%.[7]

2015 campaign[edit]

Berkowitz ran for mayor of Anchorage in 2015. He finished ahead of the rest of the field in the nonpartisan primary on April 7, advancing to a runoff with Assemblywoman Amy Demboski. He was endorsed by third-place finisher, former Republican state representative Andrew Halcro.[8] He won the runoff election on May 5 by a 19-point margin.[9][10]

Mayor of Anchorage[edit]

On July 1, 2015, Berkowitz was sworn in as Anchorage's mayor. In his inauguration speech, he urged city residents and leaders to work to overcome differences and "rise above the immediacy and smallness of the moment".[11]

Other ventures[edit]

Berkowitz took the position of Senior Vice President of the Anchorage, Alaska branch of Strategies 360 in February, 2011.[12]

Berkowitz is currently the co-host of the Bernadette and Berkowitz Show on Anchorage radio station KFQD.[13] During the 2015 mayoral campaign, comments he made on the show attracted controversy. During an argument with co-host Bernadette Wilson over same-sex marriage, Berkowitz said, "I support the idea of adults being able to choose who they have a relationship with. Father and son should be allowed to marry, if they’re both consenting adults — if you’re defining marriage as the bundle of rights and privileges that’s now accrued to people, then yes." Wilson and his election opponent, Amy Demboski, were critical of the remark, which Berkowitz later called a "hypothetical insinuation", denying that he supports incest.[14]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Dan Sullivan
Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Gene Kubina
Minority Leader of the Alaska House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Beth Kerttula
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gene Kubina
Leader of the Democratic Party in the Alaska House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Beth Kerttula
Preceded by
Ernie Hall
Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Diane Benson
Preceded by
Tony Knowles
Democratic nominee for Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Byron Mallott