UA Journey

2001-2002 Mark Begich

Anchorage

Mark Begich served as a University of Alaska regent from 2001-2002. The following is his biography from the Office of the Mayor Web site.


Since his election on April 1, 2003, Mayor Mark Begich has focused on the three priorities Anchorage residents tell him are most important: improving public safety, creating jobs and economic opportunities, and relieving traffic congestion.

  In his first 20 months in office, Anchorage crime rates have declined, the city is enjoying its 17th consecutive year of economic growth, and voters have approved the largest transportation bond package for road improvements in the city’s history.

  Mayor Begich was sworn in as Anchorage’s mayor on July 1, 2003, following the broadest public transition process in municipal history.

  The first municipal mayor born and raised in Anchorage, Mark, 42, is a 20-year Anchorage businessman. He has owned and operated several Anchorage businesses, upgrading commercial buildings and renting affordable housing to nearly 50 Anchorage families. His wife, Deborah Bonito, owns and operates three retail stores, which feature the products of more than 130 Alaska craftspeople.

  Mark was first elected to the Anchorage Assembly in 1988 at age 26. During his 10 years in elected municipal office, he focused on strengthening Anchorage's economy, creating new opportunities for young Alaskans and sound fiscal management. He was widely praised for his ability to bring diverse Anchorage groups and residents together, and was three times elected by his fellow assembly members as Assembly Chair, Anchorage's second highest office.

  Mark's parents, Pegge and the late Nick Begich, ventured to the territory of Alaska in 1957 as teachers. Following a career as a teacher and superintendent of military schools on Fort Richardson, Nick was elected Alaska's third U.S. Congressman. While running for reelection two years later, Begich's airplane disappeared in the Gulf of Alaska when Mark was 10 years old.

  From his parents, Mark learned the values of hard work, strength of family, and commitment to community. These are the values he has applied to a successful business career and long record of public service. He founded the Making a Difference Program, which seeks to set straight first-time juvenile offenders; 90 percent of the youth who go through the program do not re-offend. He has served on numerous boards, including the Boys and Girls Club, Spirit of Youth Foundation and Family Resource Center. As chair of the statewide Alaska Student Loan Corporation, he applied sound business practices saving the corporation from bankruptcy and ensuring affordable student loans for Alaska's college and vocational-technical students for years to come. He is a corporate member of the Association of the United States Army, a member of the Air Force Association, a life member of the National Rifle Association and served on the board of the Resource Development Council.

  Mayor Begich was twice named Alaska's top elected municipal official by his colleagues statewide in 1997 and 2004, and was honored as a Friend of Education by the Anchorage Education Association. For his work for drug-free and crime-free neighborhoods, he was recognized by the Mt. View Community Council.

  Mark was born in the Old Providence Hospital in downtown Anchorage in 1962. He and his wife Deborah live in East Anchorage, have been married 14 years and have a young son, Jacob.
  Article can be found at www.muni.org/mayor/mayor.cfm
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