List of Governors of Alaska
|Governor of Alaska|
|Residence||Alaska Governor's Mansion|
|Term length||Four years, can succeed self once|
|Inaugural holder||William Allen Egan|
|Formation||January 3, 1959|
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), The governor is also the head of the executive branch of Alaska's state government and has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Alaska Legislature, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment.
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 Bill Walker, who took office on December 1, 2014.
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. 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under the jurisdiction of the Department of War and administered by U.S. Army officers until 1877, when the Army was withdrawn from Alaska.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.
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.
|Commander||Took office||Left office|
|United States Army|
|Col. Jefferson C. Davis||October 18, 1867||August 31, 1870|
|Capt. 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||July 4, 1884||May 7, 1885||Arthur, Chester A.Chester A. Arthur|
|Swineford, Alfred P.Alfred P. Swineford||May 7, 1885||April 20, 1889||Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland|
|Knapp, Lyman EnosLyman Enos Knapp||April 20, 1889||June 18, 1893||Harrison, BenjaminBenjamin Harrison|
|Sheakley, JamesJames Sheakley||June 18, 1893||June 23, 1897||Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland|
|Brady, John GreenJohn Green Brady||June 23, 1897||March 2, 1906[a]||McKinley, WilliamWilliam McKinley|
|Hoggatt, Wilford BaconWilford Bacon Hoggatt||March 10, 1906||May 20, 1909||Roosevelt, TheodoreTheodore Roosevelt|
|Clark, Walter EliWalter Eli Clark||May 20, 1909||April 18, 1913||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||April 18, 1913||April 12, 1918||Wilson, WoodrowWoodrow Wilson||[b]|
|Riggs, Jr., ThomasThomas Riggs, Jr.||April 12, 1918||June 16, 1921||Wilson, WoodrowWoodrow Wilson|
|Bone, Scott CordelleScott Cordelle Bone||June 16, 1921||August 16, 1925||Harding, Warren G.Warren G. Harding|
|Parks, George AlexanderGeorge Alexander Parks||August 16, 1925||April 19, 1933||Coolidge, CalvinCalvin Coolidge|
|Troy, John WeirJohn Weir Troy||April 19, 1933||December 6, 1939||Roosevelt, Franklin DelanoFranklin Delano Roosevelt|
|Gruening, ErnestErnest Gruening||December 6, 1939||April 10, 1953||Roosevelt, Franklin DelanoFranklin Delano Roosevelt||[c]|
|Heintzleman, B. FrankB. Frank Heintzleman||April 10, 1953||January 3, 1957||Eisenhower, Dwight D.Dwight D. Eisenhower||[d]|
|Hendrickson, Waino EdwardWaino Edward Hendrickson||January 3, 1957||April 8, 1957||Acting||[e]|
|Stepovich, MikeMike Stepovich||April 8, 1957||August 9, 1958||Eisenhower, Dwight D.Dwight D. Eisenhower||[f]|
|Hendrickson, Waino EdwardWaino Edward Hendrickson||August 9, 1958||January 3, 1959||Acting||[e]|
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. 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. Should the office of governor become vacant, the lieutenant governor assumes the title of governor. 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.
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.
|#[i]||Governor||Term start||Term end||Party||Lieutenant Governor[j]||Terms[k]|
|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||1⁄2[l]|
|3||Keith Harvey Miller||January 29, 1969||December 7, 1970||Republican||Robert W. Ward||1⁄2[m]|
|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|
|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||Wally Hickel||December 3, 1990||December 5, 1994||Alaskan Independence||Jack Coghill[n]||1[o]|
|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||1⁄2[p]|
|10||Sean Parnell||July 26, 2009||December 1, 2014||Republican||Craig Campbell[q]||1 1⁄2[r]|
|11||Bill Walker||December 1, 2014||Incumbent||Independent||Byron Mallott||1[s]|
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 ) 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|||
|Sheakley, JamesJames Sheakley||1893–1897||Representative from Pennsylvania|||
|Gruening, ErnestErnest Gruening||1939–1953||Senator from Alaska|||
|Hickel, WallyWally Hickel||1966–1969
|Secretary of the Interior*|||
|Murkowski, FrankFrank Murkowski||2002–2006||Senator from Alaska|||
Living former governors
As of May 2015[update], seven former governors were alive, the oldest being Keith Harvey Miller (1969–1970, born 1925). The most recent death of a former governor was that of Mike Stepovich (1957–1958), who died on February 14, 2014, whilst the most recently serving governor to die was Wally Hickel (1966–1969, 1990–1994), who died on May 7, 2010.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth (and age)|
|Keith Harvey Miller||1969–1970||March 1, 1925|
|Bill Sheffield||1982–1986||June 26, 1928|
|Steve Cowper||1986–1990||August 21, 1938|
|Tony Knowles||1994–2002||January 1, 1943|
|Frank Murkowski||2002–2006||March 28, 1933|
|Sarah Palin||2006–2009||February 11, 1964|
|Sean Parnell||2009–2014||November 19, 1962|
- Forced to resign due to his involvement with the fraudulent Reynolds–Alaska Development Company.
- Resigned on request after it was discovered he was still a Canadian citizen.
- During most of World War II, Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., was the military commander of Alaska, and held much executive power over the territory.
- Resigned; was reportedly unhappy with the job, and did not expect to be reappointed.
- As secretary of Alaska, acted as governor for remainder of term.
- Resigned to run for U.S. Senate, losing that election.
- Includes one partial term served by a repeat governor, who also represented another party during this term.
- Includes one term served by a repeat governor.
- The official numbering omits repeat governors, as Sean Parnell is stated to be the 10th governor. Subsequent terms for repeat governors are marked with their original number italicized.
- The office of lieutenant governor was named secretary of state until 1970.
- The fractional terms of some governors are not to be understood absolutely literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple governors served, due to resignations, deaths and the like.
- Resigned to become United States Secretary of the Interior.
- As secretary of state, filled unexpired term.
- Represented the Alaskan Independence Party.
- Hickel was elected as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, and switched to the Republican party in April 1994.
- Resigned, citing the costs of "frivolous" ethics investigations.
- Campbell's position was termed "Temporary Substitute Lieutenant Governor until he was confirmed by the Alaska Legislature on August 10, 2009.
- As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term and was subsequently elected in his own right.
- Governor Walker's first full term expires December 3, 2018; he is not yet term limited.
- "Constitution of the State of Alaska". Alaska State Legislature. 1956. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- AK Const. art. II, § 15
- AK Const. art. III
- "State Symbols". Alaska Office of Economic Development. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
- Gates p. 86
- Ruskin, Liz (2002-12-20). "Barking up the wrong Pole: Hero wasn't governor". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
- Janson, Lone (1975). The Copper Spike. Alaska Northwest Publishing Co. p. 44. ISBN 0-88240-045-2.
- "New Governor of Alaska". New York Times. March 11, 1906. p. 5.
- Gruening, Ernest (1973). Many Battles: The Autobiography of Ernest Gruening. Liveright. p. 216. ISBN 0-87140-565-2.
- Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. University of Washington Press. 1997. p. 319. ISBN 0-295-97558-X.
- Naske, Claus-M. (1985). A History of Alaska Statehood. University Press of America. p. 244. ISBN 0-8191-4556-4.
- Naske, Claus-M.; Herman E. Slotnick (1979). Alaska: A History of the 49th State. Eerdmans. p. 309. ISBN 0-8028-7041-4.
- AK Const. art. III, § 4
- AK Const. art. III, § 5
- AK Const. art. III, § 11
- "Article 3 – The Executive". The Alaska Constitution. Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "Sean Parnell, 10th Governor of Alaska". State of Alaska. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
- "Alaska's Gov. Hickel Rejoins Gop Amid Speculation Over Another Term". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. April 15, 1994. Retrieved September 28, 2008.
- Cockerham, Sean (July 7, 2009). "Palin says ethics investigations were paralyzing". Anchorage Daily News.
- "Campbell Becomes Temporary Substitute LG". State of Alaska. July 26, 2009. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "House Journal, Alaska State Legislature, Twenty-Sixth Legislature, First Special Session". State of Alaska. August 10, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
- "Nevada Governor John Henry Kinkead". National Governor's Association. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
- "Sheakley, James". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 13, 2008.
- "Gruening, Ernest". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 13, 2008.
- "Alaska Governor Walter J. Hickel". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 15, 2008.
- "Murkowski, Frank Hughes". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 13, 2008.
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