Longtime Anchorage representative won’t run for re-election

Rep. Les Gara (KTUU)

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Longtime downtown Anchorage Rep. Les Gara announced in his newsletter to constituents Tuesday morning that he will not seek re-election to the office he’s held for 16 years.

“It was a hard decision.” Gara, a Democrat, wrote. “Waking up every morning knowing you have the chance, and obligation, to try to make someone’s life better is an amazing privilege,” he continued.

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Gara says the decision hinged on needing a break from “16 years in a row of working with a lot of great legislators, and a few with, let’s say, more challenging personalities.”

The newsletter announcement talked about some of the roadblocks to legislating in Alaska. “More work needs to be done,” he wrote, “While my House Majority Coalition pushed, Alaska still does not have a balanced budget plan,” he continued. He lauded some of his prize legislation that passed over the years, including this year’s sweeping reform of the state’s foster care rules, which passed both houses with only one vote in opposition.

As for what the future holds for Gara, he says: Fish, and maybe politics. “I enjoy serving, and trying to protect and create an Alaska people want to live in, not move from. Elected public service is attractive. But so is life outside of politics and I might also decide to find another way, like you, to serve.”

Gara says he’ll fish more, and spend more time with his wife Kelly. “I will read more books and watch more movies, and keep working with abused and neglected children who deserve the same fair shake in life that you and I get.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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