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Governor of Alaska

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Governor of Alaska

Governor of Alaska
Seal of Alaska
Alaska Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, can succeed self once
Inaugural holder William Allen Egan
Formation January 3, 1959
Deputy Mead Treadwell
Salary $125,000 (2009)[1]

The Governor of Alaska is the chief executive of the State of Alaska. The governor is the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces (including the Alaska National Guard and Alaska State Defense Force), has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Alaska Legislature,[2] to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment.[3]

Nine people have served as governor of the State of Alaska over 11 distinct terms, though Alaska had over 30 civilian and military governors during its long history as a United States territory. Only one governor was born in Alaska. Two people, William Allen Egan and Wally Hickel, have been elected to multiple non-consecutive terms as governor. Hickel is also noted for a rare third party win in American politics, having been elected to a term in 1990 representing the Alaskan Independence Party. The longest-serving governor of the state was Egan, who was elected three times and served nearly 12 years. The longest-serving territorial governor was Ernest Gruening, who served 13½ years.

The current governor is Sean Parnell, who took office on July 26, 2009, following the resignation of Sarah Palin. Parnell was elected to a full term in 2010.


Alaska was purchased by the United States from Russia in 1867, with formal transfer occurring on October 18, 1867, which is now celebrated as Alaska Day.[4] Prior to then, it was known as Russian America or Russian Alaska, controlled by the governors and general managers of the Russian-American Company.

Commanders of the Department of Alaska

The vast region was initially designated the Department of Alaska, under the jurisdiction of the Department of War and administered by U.S. Army officers until 1877, when the Army was withdrawn from Alaska. The Department of the Treasury then took control, with the Collector of Customs as the highest ranking federal official in the territory. In 1879, the U.S. Navy was given jurisdiction over the department.[5]

Some believe the first American administrator of Alaska was Polish immigrant Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski. However, the Anchorage Daily News was unable to find any conclusive information to support this claim.[6]

Commander Took office Left office
United States Army
Brevet Maj. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis October 18, 1867 August 31, 1870
Brevet Lt. Col. George K. Brady September 1, 1870 September 22, 1870
Maj. John C. Tidball September 23, 1870 September 19, 1871
Maj. Harvey A. Allen September 20, 1871 January 3, 1873
Maj. Joseph Stewart January 4, 1873 April 20, 1874
Capt. George R. Rodney April 21, 1874 August 16, 1874
Capt. Joseph B. Campbell August 17, 1874 June 14, 1876
Maj. John Mendenhall June 15, 1876 March 4, 1877
Capt. Arthur Morris March 5, 1877 June 14, 1877
United States Department of the Treasury
Montgomery P. Berry June 14, 1877 August 13, 1877
H.C. DeAhna August 14, 1877 March 26, 1878
Mottrom D. Ball March 27, 1878 June 13, 1879
United States Navy
Capt. Lester A. Beardslee June 14, 1879 September 12, 1880
Cmdr Henry Glass September 13, 1880 August 9, 1881
Cmdr. Edward P. Lull August 10, 1881 October 18, 1881
Cmdr. Henry Glass October 19, 1881 March 12, 1882
Cmdr. Frederick Pearson March 13, 1882 October 3, 1882
Cmdr. Edgar C. Merriman October 4, 1882 September 13, 1883
Cmdr. Joseph Coghlan September 15, 1883 September 13, 1884
Lt. Cmdr. Henry E. Nichols September 14, 1884 September 15, 1884

Governors of the District of Alaska

On May 17, 1884, the Department of Alaska was redesignated the District of Alaska, an incorporated but unorganized territory with a civil government. The governor was appointed by the President of the United States.

Governor Took office Left office Appointed by
Kinkead, John HenryJohn Henry Kinkead Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Arthur, Chester A.Chester A. Arthur
Swineford, Alfred P.Alfred P. Swineford Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland
Knapp, Lyman EnosLyman Enos Knapp Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Harrison, BenjaminBenjamin Harrison
Sheakley, JamesJames Sheakley Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland
Brady, John GreenJohn Green Brady Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1[lower-alpha 1] McKinley, WilliamWilliam McKinley
Hoggatt, Wilford BaconWilford Bacon Hoggatt Template:Dts/out1[8] Template:Dts/out1 Roosevelt, TheodoreTheodore Roosevelt
Clark, Walter EliWalter Eli Clark Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Taft, William HowardWilliam Howard Taft

Governors of the Territory of Alaska

The District of Alaska was organized into Alaska Territory on August 24, 1912. Governors continued to be appointed by the President of the United States. During World War II, parts of the Aleutian Islands were occupied by Imperial Japan from June 5, 1942, to June 28, 1943.

Governor Took office Left office Appointed by Notes
Strong, John Franklin AlexanderJohn Franklin Alexander Strong Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Wilson, WoodrowWoodrow Wilson [lower-alpha 2]
Riggs, Jr., ThomasThomas Riggs, Jr. Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Wilson, WoodrowWoodrow Wilson
Bone, Scott CordelleScott Cordelle Bone Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Harding, Warren G.Warren G. Harding
Parks, George AlexanderGeorge Alexander Parks Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Coolidge, CalvinCalvin Coolidge
Troy, John WeirJohn Weir Troy Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Roosevelt, Franklin DelanoFranklin Delano Roosevelt
Gruening, ErnestErnest Gruening Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Roosevelt, Franklin DelanoFranklin Delano Roosevelt [lower-alpha 3]
Heintzleman, B. FrankB. Frank Heintzleman Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Eisenhower, Dwight D.Dwight D. Eisenhower [lower-alpha 4]
Hendrickson, Waino EdwardWaino Edward Hendrickson Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Acting [lower-alpha 5]
Stepovich, MikeMike Stepovich Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Eisenhower, Dwight D.Dwight D. Eisenhower [lower-alpha 6]
Hendrickson, Waino EdwardWaino Edward Hendrickson Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Acting [lower-alpha 5]

Governors of the State of Alaska

Alaska was admitted to the Union on January 3, 1959.

The state constitution provides for the election of a governor and lieutenant governor every four years on the same ticket, with their terms commencing on the first Monday in the December following the election.[13] Governors are allowed to succeed themselves once, having to wait four years after their second term in a row before being allowed to run again.[14] Should the office of governor become vacant, the lieutenant governor assumes the title of governor.[15] The original constitution of 1956 created the office of secretary of state, which was functionally identical to a lieutenant governor, and was renamed to "lieutenant governor" in 1970.[16]

There have been six governors from the Republican Party, five from the Democratic Party, and one, Wally Hickel, who was elected under the Alaskan Independence Party during his second period in office. Many Republicans were unhappy with the choice of Arliss Sturgulewski as their party's candidate for governor in the 1990 election, and Hickel was able to attract their votes. However, he never held the AIP's secessionist ideals, and switched back to the Republican Party eight months before his term ended.

      Alaskan Independence (1)[lower-alpha 7]       Democratic (5)[lower-alpha 8]       Republican (7)[lower-alpha 7]

#[lower-alpha 9] Governor Term start Term end Party Lieutenant Governor[lower-alpha 10] Terms[lower-alpha 11]
1   William Allen Egan January 3, 1959 December 5, 1966 Democratic   Hugh Wade 2
2 Wally Hickel December 5, 1966 January 29, 1969 Republican Keith Harvey Miller 12[lower-alpha 12]
3 Keith Harvey Miller January 29, 1969 December 7, 1970 Republican Robert W. Ward 12[lower-alpha 13]
1 William Allen Egan December 7, 1970 December 2, 1974 Democratic H. A. Boucher 1
4 Jay Hammond December 2, 1974 December 6, 1982 Republican Lowell Thomas, Jr. 2
Terry Miller
5 Bill Sheffield December 6, 1982 December 1, 1986 Democratic Stephen McAlpine 1
6 Steve Cowper December 1, 1986 December 3, 1990 Democratic Stephen McAlpine 1
2 bgcolor=Template:Alaskan Independence Party/meta/color| Wally Hickel December 3, 1990 December 5, 1994 Alaskan Independence rowspan="2" bgcolor=Template:Alaskan Independence Party/meta/color| Jack Coghill[lower-alpha 14] 1[lower-alpha 15]
7 Tony Knowles December 5, 1994 December 2, 2002 Democratic Fran Ulmer 2
8 Frank Murkowski December 2, 2002 December 4, 2006 Republican Loren Leman 1
9 Sarah Palin December 4, 2006 July 26, 2009 Republican Sean Parnell 12[lower-alpha 16]
10 Sean Parnell July 26, 2009 Incumbent Republican Craig Campbell[lower-alpha 17] 1 12[lower-alpha 18][lower-alpha 19]
Mead Treadwell

Other high offices held

Five of Alaska's governors have served other high offices, including a Secretary of the Interior, a Governor of Nevada, and three members of the U.S. Congress, although only two represented Alaska. One (marked with *) resigned his office to be the Secretary of the Interior, and one (marked with Template:Dagger) resigned his position as senator to take office as governor.

Governor Gubernatorial term Other offices held Source
Kinkead, John HenryJohn Henry Kinkead 1884–1885 Governor of Nevada [22]
Sheakley, JamesJames Sheakley 1893–1897 Representative from Pennsylvania [23]
Gruening, ErnestErnest Gruening 1939–1953 Senator from Alaska [24]
Hickel, WallyWally Hickel 1966–1969, 1990–1994 Secretary of the Interior* [25]
Murkowski, FrankFrank Murkowski 2002–2006 Senator from AlaskaTemplate:Dagger [26]

Living former governors

As of March 2011, seven former governors were alive, including Mike Stepovich, the last living pre-statehood governor in the United States. The most recent death of a former governor was that of Wally Hickel (1966–1969, 1990–1994), who died on May 7, 2010.

Governor Term in office Date of birth
Mike Stepovich 1957–1958 (1919-03-12) March 12, 1919 (age 95)
Keith Harvey Miller 1969–1970 (1925-03-01) March 1, 1925 (age 89)
Bill Sheffield 1982–1986 (1928-06-26) June 26, 1928 (age 85)
Steve Cowper 1986–1990 (1938-08-21) August 21, 1938 (age 75)
Tony Knowles 1994–2002 (1943-01-01) January 1, 1943 (age 71)
Frank Murkowski 2002–2006 (1933-03-28) March 28, 1933 (age 81)
Sarah Palin 2006–2009 (1964-02-11) February 11, 1964 (age 50)

See also




External links

  • Office of the Governor of Alaska

Template:US Governor Mansions

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