List of Governors of Alaska

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Governor of the State of Alaska
Bill Walker.jpg
Bill Walker

since December 1, 2014
Residence Alaska Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder William Allen Egan
Formation January 3, 1959
Deputy Byron Mallott
Salary $145,000 (2013)[1]

The Governor of Alaska is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Alaska. The governor is the head of the executive branch of Alaska's state government and is charged with enforcing state laws. The governor has 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] The governor is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.

Eleven people have served as governor of the State of Alaska over 13 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,[4] 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the jurisdiction of the Department of War and administered by the U.S. Army officers until 1877, when the Army was withdrawn from Alaska.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.[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]

Chief federal officers of the Department of Alaska
No. Portrait Commander Position Term in office
1 Jefferson C. Davis.jpg Davis, Jefferson C.Jefferson C. Davis Army Colonel October 18, 1867

August 31, 1870
2 George Keyports Brady.jpg Brady, George K.George K. Brady Army Captain September 1, 1870

September 22, 1870
3 Tidball BVT BG John C 1865.jpg Tidball, John C.John C. Tidball Army Major September 23, 1870

September 19, 1871
4 Allen, Harvey A.Harvey A. Allen Army Major September 20, 1871

January 3, 1873
5 Capt. Joseph Stewart.jpg Stewart, JosephJoseph Stewart Army Major January 4, 1873

April 20, 1874
6 Rodney, Jr., George B.George B. Rodney, Jr. Army Captain April 21, 1874

August 16, 1874
7 Campbell, Joseph B.Joseph B. Campbell Army Captain August 17, 1874

June 14, 1876
8 Mendenhall, JohnJohn Mendenhall Army Major June 15, 1876

March 4, 1877
9 Morris, ArthurArthur Morris Army Captain March 5, 1877

June 14, 1877
10 Berry, Montgomery P.Montgomery P. Berry Collector of Customs June 14, 1877

August 13, 1877
11 DeAhna, H.C.H.C. DeAhna Collector of Customs August 14, 1877

March 26, 1878
12 Ball, M. D.M. D. Ball Collector of Customs March 27, 1878

June 13, 1879
13 Lester A Beardslee.jpg Beardslee, Lester A.Lester A. Beardslee Navy Captain June 14, 1879

September 12, 1880
14 Henry Glass.jpg Glass, HenryHenry Glass Navy Commander September 13, 1880

August 9, 1881
15 Lull, Edward P.Edward P. Lull Navy Commander August 10, 1881

October 18, 1881
16 Henry Glass.jpg Glass, HenryHenry Glass Navy Commander October 19, 1881

March 12, 1882
17 Pearson, FrederickFrederick Pearson Navy Commander March 13, 1882

October 3, 1882
18 Merriman, Edgar C.Edgar C. Merriman Navy Commander October 4, 1882

September 13, 1883
19 RADM Joseph Coghlan.JPG Coghlan, JosephJoseph Coghlan Navy Commander September 15, 1883

September 13, 1884
20 Nichols, Henry E.Henry E. Nichols Navy Lieutenant commander 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.

Governors of the District of Alaska
No. Portrait Governor Term in office Appointed by
1 John Henry Kinkead.gif Kinkead, John HenryJohn Henry Kinkead July 4, 1884

May 7, 1885
Arthur, Chester A.Chester A. Arthur
2 Alfred P. Swineford.jpg Swineford, Alfred P.Alfred P. Swineford May 7, 1885

April 20, 1889
Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland
3 Lyman Enos Knapp.jpg Knapp, Lyman EnosLyman Enos Knapp April 20, 1889

June 18, 1893
Harrison, BenjaminBenjamin Harrison
4 McLaurin(1902) pic.109 Governor SHEAKLEY.jpg Sheakley, JamesJames Sheakley June 18, 1893

June 23, 1897
Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland
5 John G Brady.jpg Brady, John GreenJohn Green Brady June 23, 1897

March 2, 1906[a]
McKinley, WilliamWilliam McKinley
6 Wilford B Hoggatt.jpg Hoggatt, Wilford BaconWilford Bacon Hoggatt March 10, 1906[8]

May 20, 1909
Roosevelt, TheodoreTheodore Roosevelt
7 Portrait of Walter Eli Clark.jpg Clark, Walter EliWalter Eli Clark May 20, 1909

August 24, 1912
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.

Governors of the Territory of Alaska
No. Portrait Governor Term in office Appointed by
1 Portrait of Walter Eli Clark.jpg Clark, Walter EliWalter Eli Clark August 24, 1912

April 18, 1913
Taft, William HowardWilliam Howard Taft
2 John Franklin Alexander Strong.jpg Strong, John Franklin AlexanderJohn Franklin Alexander Strong April 18, 1913

April 12, 1918[b]
Wilson, WoodrowWoodrow Wilson
3 Thomas Christmas Riggs, Jr.jpg Riggs, Jr., ThomasThomas Riggs, Jr. April 12, 1918

June 16, 1921
4 Scott Cordelle Bone.jpg Bone, Scott CordelleScott Cordelle Bone June 16, 1921

August 16, 1925
Harding, Warren G.Warren G. Harding
5 George Alexander Parks.jpg Parks, George AlexanderGeorge Alexander Parks August 16, 1925

April 19, 1933
Coolidge, CalvinCalvin Coolidge
6 Troy, John WeirJohn Weir Troy April 19, 1933

December 6, 1939
Roosevelt, Franklin D.Franklin D. Roosevelt
7 Ernest Gruening (D-AK).jpg Gruening, ErnestErnest Gruening[c] December 6, 1939

April 10, 1953
8 Heintzleman, B. FrankB. Frank Heintzleman April 10, 1953

January 3, 1957[d]
Eisenhower, Dwight D.Dwight D. Eisenhower
Waino Hendrickson.png Hendrickson, WainoWaino Hendrickson January 3, 1957

April 8, 1957
9 Mike Stepovich.png Stepovich, MikeMike Stepovich April 8, 1957

August 9, 1958[f]
Eisenhower, Dwight D.Dwight D. Eisenhower
Waino Hendrickson.png Hendrickson, WainoWaino Hendrickson August 9, 1958

January 3, 1959

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]

Governors of the State of Alaska
No. Portrait Governor Term in office Party Election Lt. Governor[g][h]
1 William A. Egan.jpg   Egan, William AllenWilliam Allen Egan January 3, 1959

December 5, 1966
Democratic 1958   Wade, HughHugh Wade
2 Hickel.gif Hickel, WallyWally Hickel December 5, 1966

January 29, 1969
Republican 1966
Miller, Keith HarveyKeith Harvey Miller
3 Keith H. Miller.jpg Miller, Keith HarveyKeith Harvey Miller January 29, 1969

December 7, 1970
Republican Ward, Robert W.Robert W. Ward
4 William A. Egan.jpg Egan, William AllenWilliam Allen Egan December 7, 1970

December 2, 1974
Democratic 1970 Boucher, H. A.H. A. Boucher
5 Jay Hammond 1975.jpg Hammond, JayJay Hammond December 2, 1974

December 6, 1982
Republican 1974 Thomas, Jr., LowellLowell Thomas, Jr.
1978 Miller, TerryTerry Miller
6 Bill Sheffield 1989.jpg Sheffield, BillBill Sheffield December 6, 1982

December 1, 1986
Democratic 1982 McAlpine, StephenStephen McAlpine
7 Steve Cowper 1990.jpg Cowper, SteveSteve Cowper December 1, 1986

December 3, 1990
Democratic 1986
8 Hickel.gif Hickel, WallyWally Hickel December 3, 1990

December 5, 1994
Alaskan Independence 1990
Coghill, JackJack Coghill[k]
9 GovTonyKnowles.jpg Knowles, TonyTony Knowles December 5, 1994

December 2, 2002
Democratic 1994 Ulmer, FranFran Ulmer
10 Frank Murkowski, 105th Congress photo.jpg Murkowski, FrankFrank Murkowski December 2, 2002

December 4, 2006
Republican 2002 Leman, LorenLoren Leman
11 Sarah Palin Germany 3 Cropped Lightened.JPG Palin, SarahSarah Palin December 4, 2006

July 26, 2009
Republican 2006
Parnell, SeanSean Parnell
12 Former Governor of Alaska Sean Parnell.jpg Parnell, SeanSean Parnell July 26, 2009

December 1, 2014
Republican Vacant
Campbell, CraigCraig Campbell
(took office August 10, 2009)[m]
2010 Treadwell, MeadMead Treadwell
13 Bill Walker.jpg Walker, BillBill Walker December 1, 2014

Independent 2014
Mallott, ByronByron Mallott[o]

See also


  1. ^ Brady was forced to resign due to his involvement with the fraudulent Reynolds–Alaska Development Company.[7]
  2. ^ Resigned on request after it was discovered he was still a Canadian citizen.[9]
  3. ^ 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.[10]
  4. ^ Resigned; was reportedly unhappy with the job, and did not expect to be reappointed.[11]
  5. ^ a b As secretary of Alaska, acted as governor for remainder of term.[12]
  6. ^ Resigned to run for United States Senate, losing that election.[12]
  7. ^ The office of lieutenant governor was named secretary of state until 1970.[16]
  8. ^ Lieutenant governors represented the same party as their governor unless noted.
  9. ^ Hickel resigned to become United States Secretary of the Interior; as secretary of state, Miller succeeded him.
  10. ^ Hickel was elected as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, and switched to the Republican party in April 1994.[17]
  11. ^ Represented the Alaskan Independence Party.
  12. ^ Palin resigned, citing the costs of ethics investigations;[18] as lieutenant governor, Parnell succeeded her.
  13. ^ Campbell's position was termed "Temporary Substitute Lieutenant Governor[19] until he was confirmed by the Alaska Legislature on August 10, 2009.[20]
  14. ^ Governor Walker's first term expires December 3, 2018; he is not yet term limited.
  15. ^ Represented the Democratic Party.


  • "Alaska: Past Governors Bios". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  • Gates, Nancy (2007). The Alaska Almanac: Facts about Alaska (30th ed.). Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co. pp. 85–87. ISBN 0-88240-652-3. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  • "Constitution of the State of Alaska". Alaska State Legislature. 1956. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ AK Const. art. II, § 15
  3. ^ AK Const. art. III
  4. ^ "Purchase of Alaska, 1867". United States Department of State Office of the Historian. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  5. ^ Gates p. 86
  6. ^ Ruskin, Liz (2002-12-20). "Barking up the wrong Pole: Hero wasn't governor". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved August 26, 2008. 
  7. ^ Janson, Lone (1975). The Copper Spike. Alaska Northwest Publishing Co. p. 44. ISBN 0-88240-045-2. 
  8. ^ "New Governor of Alaska". New York Times. March 11, 1906. p. 5. 
  9. ^ Gruening, Ernest (1973). Many Battles: The Autobiography of Ernest Gruening. Liveright. p. 216. ISBN 0-87140-565-2. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Naske, Claus-M. (1985). A History of Alaska Statehood. University Press of America. p. 244. ISBN 0-8191-4556-4. 
  12. ^ a b Naske, Claus-M.; Herman E. Slotnick (1979). Alaska: A History of the 49th State. Eerdmans. p. 309. ISBN 0-8028-7041-4. 
  13. ^ AK Const. art. III, § 4
  14. ^ AK Const. art. III, § 5
  15. ^ AK Const. art. III, § 11
  16. ^ a b AK Const. amendments
  17. ^ "Alaska's Gov. Hickel Rejoins Gop Amid Speculation Over Another Term". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. April 15, 1994. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  18. ^ "Legal Bills Swayed Palin, Official Says". The New York Times. July 5, 2009. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  19. ^ Forgey, Pat (July 28, 2009). "Alaska gets first ever 'temporary substitute' lt. governor". Juneau Empire. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  20. ^ "House Journal, Alaska State Legislature, Twenty-Sixth Legislature, First Special Session". State of Alaska. August 10, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 

External links

  • Office of the Governor of Alaska
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