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 two governors, William Allen Egan and Bill Walker, were born in Alaska. Two people, 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.
Governors before statehood
Alaska was purchased by the United States from the Russian Empire 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the jurisdiction of the Department of War and administered by the U.S. Army officers until 1877, when the Army was withdrawn from Alaska.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.
|#||Portrait||Commander||Took office||Left office|
|United States Army|
|1||Col. Jefferson C. Davis||October 18, 1867||August 31, 1870|
|2||Capt. George K. Brady||September 1, 1870||September 22, 1870|
|3||Maj. John C. Tidball||September 23, 1870||September 19, 1871|
|4||Maj. Harvey A. Allen||September 20, 1871||January 3, 1873|
|5||Maj. Joseph Stewart||January 4, 1873||April 20, 1874|
|6||Capt. George B. Rodney, Jr.||April 21, 1874||August 16, 1874|
|7||Capt. Joseph B. Campbell||August 17, 1874||June 14, 1876|
|8||Maj. John Mendenhall||June 15, 1876||March 4, 1877|
|9||Capt. Arthur Morris||March 5, 1877||June 14, 1877|
|United States Department of the Treasury|
|10||Montgomery P. Berry||June 14, 1877||August 13, 1877|
|11||H.C. DeAhna||August 14, 1877||March 26, 1878|
|12||M. D. Ball||March 27, 1878||June 13, 1879|
|United States Navy|
|13||Capt. Lester A. Beardslee||June 14, 1879||September 12, 1880|
|14||Cmdr. Henry Glass||September 13, 1880||August 9, 1881|
|15||Cmdr. Edward P. Lull||August 10, 1881||October 18, 1881|
|16||Cmdr. Henry Glass||October 19, 1881||March 12, 1882|
|17||Cmdr. Frederick Pearson||March 13, 1882||October 3, 1882|
|18||Cmdr. Edgar C. Merriman||October 4, 1882||September 13, 1883|
|19||Cmdr. Joseph Coghlan||September 15, 1883||September 13, 1884|
|20||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.
|#||Portrait||Governor||Term in office||Appointed by|
|1||John Henry Kinkead||July 4, 1884 – May 7, 1885||Chester A. Arthur|
|2||Alfred P. Swineford||May 7, 1885 – April 20, 1889||Grover Cleveland|
|3||Lyman Enos Knapp||April 20, 1889 – June 18, 1893||Benjamin Harrison|
|4||James Sheakley||June 18, 1893 – June 23, 1897||Grover Cleveland|
|5||John Green Brady||June 23, 1897 – March 2, 1906||William McKinley|
|6||Wilford Bacon Hoggatt||March 10, 1906 – May 20, 1909||Theodore Roosevelt|
|7||Walter Eli Clark||May 20, 1909 – August 24, 1912||William 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.
|#||Portrait||Governor||Term in office||Appointed by|
|1||Walter Eli Clark||August 24, 1912 – April 18, 1913||William Howard Taft|
|2||John Franklin Alexander Strong||April 18, 1913 – April 12, 1918||Woodrow Wilson|
|3||Thomas Riggs, Jr.||April 12, 1918 – June 16, 1921|
|4||Scott Cordelle Bone||June 16, 1921 – August 16, 1925||Warren G. Harding|
|5||George Alexander Parks||August 16, 1925 – April 19, 1933||Calvin Coolidge|
|6||John Weir Troy||April 19, 1933 – December 6, 1939||Franklin Delano Roosevelt|
|7||Ernest Gruening||December 6, 1939 – April 10, 1953|
|8||B. Frank Heintzleman||April 10, 1953 – January 3, 1957||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|—||Waino Hendrickson||January 3, 1957 – April 8, 1957||Acting|
|9||Mike Stepovich||April 8, 1957 – August 9, 1958||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|—||Waino Hendrickson||August 9, 1958 – January 3, 1959||Acting|
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, four from the Democratic Party, one independent, 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.
||Portrait||Governor||Term in office||Party||Term
||Previous office||Lieutenant Governor|
|1||William Allen Egan
October 8, 1914 – May 6, 1984
| January 3, 1959
December 5, 1966
|Alaska Territorial Senator||Hugh Wade|
August 18, 1919 – May 7, 2010
|December 5, 1966
January 29, 1969
|None||Keith Harvey Miller|
|3||Keith Harvey Miller
March 1, 1925
|January 29, 1969
December 7, 1970
|Republican||Secretary of State of Alaska
|Robert W. Ward|
|1||William Allen Egan
October 8, 1914 – May 6, 1984
|December 7, 1970
December 2, 1974
|Governor of Alaska
|H. A. Boucher|
July 21, 1922 – August 2, 2005
|December 2, 1974
December 6, 1982
|Mayor of Bristol Bay Borough||Lowell Thomas, Jr.|
June 26, 1928
|December 6, 1982
December 1, 1986
August 21, 1938
|December 1, 1986
December 3, 1990
|Alaska Representative for the 20th District|
August 18, 1919 – May 7, 2010
|December 3, 1990
December 5, 1994
United States Secretary of the Interior
January 1, 1943
|December 5, 1994
December 2, 2002
|Mayor of Anchorage
March 28, 1933
|December 2, 2002
December 4, 2006
|United States Senator
February 11, 1964
|December 4, 2006
July 26, 2009
|Chairperson of the AOGCC
November 19, 1962
|July 26, 2009
December 1, 2014
Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
April 16, 1951
|December 1, 2014
|Mayor of Valdez
Other high offices held
Five of Alaska's governors have served other high offices, including one Cabinet member and one governor of another state. Three were members of the U.S. Congress, although only two represented Alaska.
|Governor||Other offices held||Source|
|John Henry Kinkead||Governor of Nevada|
|James Sheakley||Representative from Pennsylvania|
|Ernest Gruening||Senator from Alaska|
|Wally Hickel||Secretary of the Interior|
|Tony Knowles||Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska|
|Frank Murkowski||Senator from Alaska|
Living former U.S. governors of Alaska
There are seven living former governors of Alaska, the oldest being Keith Harvey Miller (served 1969-1970, born 1925). The most recent death of a former governor was that of Mike Stepovich (served 1957-1958, born 1919) on February 14, 2014. The most recently serving governor to die was Wally Hickel (served 1966-1969 and 1990-1994, born 1919) on May 7, 2010.
|Governor||Years in office||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|
- List of Governors of Alaska by time in office
- Timeline of Alaska
- 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 United States Senate, losing that election.
- 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.
- Each term for which a governor is elected is listed here; if multiple governors served in a single term, due to resignations, deaths, and the like, then that term will be shared among those governors. If a governor was elected multiple times, then there will be multiple terms listed for that governor.
- The office of lieutenant governor was named secretary of state until 1970.
- Hickel resigned to become United States Secretary of the Interior. As secretary of state, Miller became governor.
- 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.
- Palin resigned, citing the costs of ethics investigations. As lieutenant governor, Parnell became governor.
- Campbell's position was termed "Temporary Substitute Lieutenant Governor until he was confirmed by the Alaska Legislature on August 10, 2009.
- Governor Walker's first term expires December 3, 2018; he is not yet term limited.
- Represented the Democratic Party.
- "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.
- "John Henry Kinkead". National Governors 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.
- "Walter J. Hickel". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 15, 2008.
- "Tony Knowles". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
- "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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