List of Governors of Alaska

List of Governors of Alaska

The Governor of Alaska is the head of the executive branch of Alaska's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Alaska Legislature, [AK Const. art. II, § 15] to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment. [AK Const. art. III] There have been eleven governors of the state of Alaska, though it had over thirty civilian and military governors during its long history as a United States territory.

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. [AK Const. art. III, § 4] 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. [AK Const. art. III, § 5] Should the office of governor become vacant, the lieutenant governor assumes the title of governor. [AK Const. art. III, § 11] 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. [cite web|url=|title=Constitutional Amendments | publisher=Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska | accessdate=2008-08-13]

Two people have served as state governor twice, William A. Egan and Walter J. Hickel, the latter of which had nearly 32 years between his terms. The longest-serving governor of the state was Egan, who served nearly 12 years over two distinct terms. The longest-serving territorial governor was Ernest Gruening, who served frac|13|1|2 years. In a rare third-party win in American politics, Walter J. Hickel was elected under the Alaskan Independence Party in 1990. The current governor is Sarah Palin, who took office in 2006 as the first female governor of Alaska.


none|thumb|upright|Walter J. Hickel, second and eighth governor of Alaska, and 38th United States Secretary of the Interior]
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. [cite web|url= | title=State Symbols | publisher=Alaska Office of Economic Development | accessdate=2008-08-26] 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. [cite book |title=The Alaska Almanac: Facts about Alaska | edition=30th |last=Gates |first=Nancy |year=2007 |publisher=Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co. |isbn=0882406523 |pages=p.86 |url=,M1 ]

Supposedly, 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. [cite news | last = Ruskin | first = Liz|date = 2002-12-20 | title = Barking up the wrong Pole: Hero wasn't governor | work = Anchorage Daily News | url= | accessdate=2008-08-26]

Governors of Alaska

Alaska was admitted to the Union on January 3, 1959. Since then, it has had 9 governors, serving 11 distinct terms.

There have been five governors each representing the Republican and Democratic parties, and one, Walter J. Hickel, who was elected under the Alaskan Independence Party during his second time 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.





External links

* [ Office of the Governor of Alaska]

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