Host City of Albuquerque City of Albuquerque
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Speakers

Mayor Mark Begich
Anchorage, AK

Presentation: Where Do You Begin? (8.6mb PPT)

Biography:
Following his first election on April 1, 2003, and continuing through his overwhelming re-election in April 2006, Mayor Mark Begich has continued to focus on improving public safety, creating jobs, stimulating economic development, and relieving traffic congestion.

During his first term in office, Anchorage voters approved the largest bond package for road improvements in the city’s history, construction of a new civic and convention center, and a $100 million expansion of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.

The city is enjoying its 18th consecutive year of economic growth, with more than 2,500 jobs added to the city’s economy over the past year. Under Mayor Begich’s leadership, the city also recently received an upgrade on its bond rating from Standard & Poor’s, going from AA-minus to AA, resulting in cost-savings to taxpayers.

The first municipal mayor born and raised in Anchorage, Mark, 44, 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 16 years and have a young son, Jacob.