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Anchorage, Alaska chooses first woman, openly gay acting mayor

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Austin Quinn-Davidson will become Acting Mayor of Anchorage effective next Friday following the resignation of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

Quinn-Davidson, 40, is a lawyer who was first elected to the Assembly in 2018. She will be the first woman and an openly gay person to become mayor or acting mayor of Anchorage, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The city charter stipulates that the president of its assembly will fulfill the functions of interim mayor in the event of a vacancy. The Assembly voted on Friday to appoint Quinn-Davidson as the new president, replacing Felix Rivera.

Berkowitz resigned after admitting to having an inappropriate relationship with a reporter three days after making allegations online against the married official.

City attorney Kate Vogel said at Friday’s meeting that the city’s charter was ambiguous as to how a permanent mayor should be selected. She said the Assembly had some legally defensible choices on how to proceed. The first would be to hold a special election in January, 90 days after Berkowitz resigned. The second option would be to skip a special election and ask Quinn-Davidson to become interim mayor until the regular election scheduled for April.

Thereafter, a newly elected mayor could take over before July, when a term of mayor usually begins. Or, Quinn-Davidson could continue as interim mayor until July, when the mayor-elect would take office.

Had Rivera been chosen as interim mayor, he would have been the city’s first openly gay mayor. Rivera was also reportedly the first Latino mayor and at 31, the youngest. The next youngest would be James Delaney Sr., who was 32 or 33 when he was elected in 1929.

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