The new mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, has Superior roots.
Dave Bronson, 63, grew up in Superior’s South End neighborhood, the second oldest of five children. His parents, Bill and Sandy Bronson, still live in the house on Oakes Avenue where he was raised.
Bronson delivered the Evening Telegram when he was a boy, and graduated from Superior High School before earning a degree in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He went on to serve his country as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, piloting B-52s and B1B bombers. It was during that time that he got his first “15 seconds of fame,” as his mother calls it.
She keeps a laminated section of the Aug. 24, 1989, Evening Telegram that features a story on “The Bronson Brothers return.” Bronson took part in Duluth's Aviation Expo ‘89. Then a captain with the Air Force, he flew a B1B in the expo. His bomber was refueled enroute by a tanker co-piloted by his younger brother, John, out of the Maine National Guard.
Bronson went on to serve in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and Alaska Air National Guard. He recently retired from a 30-year career as a commercial pilot. An outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hunting and fishing, he's been an Alaska resident for nearly three decades.
New headlines featuring Bronson have already been made. The former Superior man will be sworn in to the top spot in the city Thursday, July 1. Anchorage is home to 40% of Alaska’s population, estimated at roughly 288,000 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s more than 10 times the size of Superior.
According to Sandy Bronson, her son will oversee 120 city positions and must tackle the challenge of a burgeoning homeless population in Anchorage. His slogan when running for the three-year seat was “A new direction.”
“He’s just focused” on solving problems he sees in the community, she said.
It took a two-step process to determine Anchorage’s new mayor, starting with 15 candidates in an April election. None of them secured 45% or more of the vote, so the top two vote-getters, Bronson and Forrest Dunbar, advanced to a runoff election May 11. Bronson won the nonpartisan seat by nearly 1,200 votes.
The new mayor’s parents, who plan to attend his swearing-in, said politics don’t run in the family.
“We’re not sure what to do with it,” Sandy Bronson said, but her son is surrounding himself with good people as he prepares to take the helm of Alaska’s largest city.
“I don’t think he’s interested in being a politician,” she said.
Bronson echoed that to Alaska Public Media’s Kavitha George. He told her he doesn’t see himself as a politician, but he felt the city was broken and going in the wrong direction. That’s what gave the conservative mayor-elect, who calls himself “center-right,” the impetus to step into the ring.
“He’s going to try to do his best to get things straightened out,” said Bill Bronson, 85, who worked at Campbell Lumber for 60 years.
For more information, visit the Dave Bronson for Mayor Facebook page.