Bill Sheffield

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Bill Sheffield
Bill Sheffield 1989.jpg
5th Governor of Alaska
In office
December 6, 1982 – December 1, 1986
LieutenantSteve McAlpine
Preceded byJay Hammond
Succeeded bySteve Cowper
Personal details
William Jennings Sheffield

(1928-06-26) June 26, 1928 (age 92)
Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationDeVry University

William Jennings Sheffield Jr. (born June 26, 1928) is an American Democratic politician who was the fifth governor of Alaska from 1982 to 1986. Sheffield's term in the governor's mansion was marked by controversy including attempts to have him impeached.[1]

Political career[edit]

While governor, Sheffield pushed an unpopular bill through the state legislature to consolidate Alaska's time zones. Prior to the passage of this bill, Alaska was spread over four time zones (Pacific, Yukon, Alaska-Hawaii, and Bering). Sheffield's bill placed virtually the entire state (with the sole exception of the Aleutians, starting just west of Dutch Harbor) into the Yukon Time Zone (which was then renamed the Alaska Time Zone).[2] Initially, this was poorly received; those in the panhandle lost their sense of unity with the west coast of the United States, and those in the heartland of the state were placed, in effect, in a perpetual daylight saving time. More than twenty years later, the state legislature was still debating the issue, with some members wanting to return the panhandle and capital to Seattle time, and with others claiming that Sheffield broke his promise to revisit the change after a one-year trial period.[3]

After leaving the position of Governor, Sheffield served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Alaska Railroad from 1985 to 1997. In 1997 he was promoted to President and CEO of the railroad, where he served until 2001.[4] As of 2008, he remains on the railroad's Board of Directors as Vice Chairman.[5]


  1. ^ Richard Mauer (10 July 1985). "Alaska's governor may face impeachment for lease award". Christian Science Monitor.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Alaska Railroad - History". Alaska Railroad. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
  5. ^ "Press Kit" (PDF). Alaska Railroad. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2008-02-28.

Authored book[edit]

  • Bill Sheffield: a memoir, from the great depression to the Alaska governor's mansion and beyond. 2018. ISBN 978-1-57833-698-2.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Chancy Croft
Democratic nominee for Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Steve Cowper
Political offices
Preceded by
Jay Hammond
Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Steve Cowper
Business positions
Preceded by
Robert Hatfield
President of the Alaska Railroad
Succeeded by
Patrick K. Gamble