Stephen McAlpine

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Steve McAlpine
Steve McAlpine and Ernie Piper.jpg
Steve McAlpine (left, in blue jacket) as lieutenant governor in September 1989, talking with Governor Cowper's staff assistant Ernie Piper.
5th Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
In office
December 6, 1982 – December 3, 1990
Governor Bill Sheffield
Steve Cowper
Preceded by Terry Miller
Succeeded by Jack Coghill
Mayor of Valdez, Alaska
In office
Preceded by Bill Walker
Succeeded by Susy Collins
Personal details
Born Stephen Alan McAlpine
(1949-05-23) May 23, 1949 (age 66)
Yakima, Washington, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Parents Robert E. McAlpine
Myrtle B. McAlpine (née Loomis)
Education Maryknoll Seminary
Alma mater University of Washington
University of Puget Sound School of Law
Profession Lawyer

Stephen Alan "Steve" McAlpine (born May 23, 1949) is an American lawyer and politician. McAlpine served as the fifth Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from 1982 to 1990.[1]

Early life[edit]

Stephen Alan McAlpine was born in Yakima, Washington on May 23, 1949, the fourth child of Robert E. and Myrtle B. (née Loomis) McAlpine. He attended school in Yakima, as well as two years at Maryknoll Seminary in Mountain View, California. He attended the University of Washington, graduating with a degree in history and political science. He later graduated from the University of Puget Sound School of Law in 1976.

McAlpine originally came to Alaska in 1970 accompanied by a friend from college, Mano Frey. The two visited Alaska while taking a break from studies and decided to stay, settling in Valdez. They worked construction during the building of the trans-Alaska pipeline. McAlpine continued his studies until earning his law degree, while Frey would go on to become a major labor union figure in Alaska, serving as head of Alaska's AFL-CIO from 1984 to 2002.

Law career[edit]

In 1977, McAlpine partnered with James D. Ginotti in the Law Firm of Ginotti & McAlpine, PC.

Following the end of his tenure in elected office (see below), McAlpine moved to Anchorage, Alaska and resumed the practice of law, which he continues to the present day.

Political career[edit]

Local politics[edit]

During the late 1970s, McAlpine was elected to the Valdez city council and went on to serve two terms as mayor of Valdez.

Lieutenant governor[edit]

In 1982, he was elected as lieutenant governor of Alaska, serving with governor Bill Sheffield, an Anchorage hotelier. Sheffield, plagued by various scandals in his administration during his term as governor, lost renomination in the 1986 primary election to Steve Cowper, a Fairbanks lawyer and former state representative. McAlpine won renomination, and in the general election, was reelected alongside Cowper.

As his tenure as lieutenant governor occurred during the Exxon Valdez oil spill, McAlpine found himself the subject of national media attention, particularly given his ties to Valdez.

McAlpine later ran for governor, but lost in the primary election to Tony Knowles.


McAlpine holds a number of distinctions resulting from his tenure as lieutenant governor. When elected in 1982, McAlpine was the first baby boomer elected to statewide office in Alaska. His election at age 33 made him the youngest person elected to statewide office in Alaska, which still stands today. He is also the only two-term lieutenant governor in the state's history to have served under different governors.


Political offices
Preceded by
Terry Miller
Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Jack Coghill