List of Governors of Alaska

Last updated
Governor of Alaska
State Seal of Alaska.svg
Senator Mike Dunleavy.jpg
Mike Dunleavy

since December 3, 2018
Residence Alaska Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder William A. Egan
FormationJanuary 3, 1959
Deputy Valerie Davidson
Salary$145,000 [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.

Head of government is a generic term used for either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. The term "head of government" is often differentiated from the term "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

Alaska State of the United States of America

Alaska is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of North America, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. The Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon border the state to the east and southeast. Its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas—southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest U.S. state by area and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America: its population—estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015— is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. Military bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.


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 A. 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.

United States territory legal designation

United States territory is any extent of region under the sovereign jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, including all waters and all U.S. naval vessels. The United States asserts sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its territory. This extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States federal government for administrative and other purposes. The United States total territory includes a subset of political divisions.

William A. Egan Governor of Alaska

William Allen Egan was an American Democratic politician. He served as the first governor of the State of Alaska from January 3, 1959 to 1966 and 1970 to 1974. Born in Valdez, Alaska, Egan is one of only two governors in the state's history to have been born in Alaska. He was the Democratic nominee in five gubernatorial elections.

Bill Walker (American politician) 11th Governor of Alaska

William Martin Walker is an American attorney and politician who served as the 11th governor of Alaska, from 2014 to 2018. He is the second native-born governor of Alaska after William A. Egan.

The current governor is Republican Mike Dunleavy, who took office on December 3, 2018.

Mike Dunleavy (politician) 12th Governor of Alaska

Michael J. Dunleavy is an American politician who is the 12th governor of Alaska, serving since December 2018. A Republican, Dunleavy was a member of the Alaska Senate from 2013 through 2018. Dunleavy defeated former Democratic United States Senator Mark Begich in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Governors before statehood

Alaska was purchased by the United States from the Russian Empire in 1867, with formal transfer occurring on October 18, 1867, [2] which is now celebrated as Alaska Day. Before then, it was known as Russian America or Russian Alaska, controlled by the governors and general managers of the Russian-American Company.

Alaska Purchase 1867 sale of Alaska to the USA by Russia

The Alaska Purchase was the United States' acquisition of Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, by a treaty ratified by the United States Senate, and signed by President Andrew Johnson.

Russian Empire former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Alaska Day is a legal holiday in the U.S. state of Alaska, observed on October 18. It is the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States, which occurred on Friday, October 18, 1867.

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. [3]

Department of Alaska department of the USA between 1884-1912

The Department of Alaska was the designation for the government of Alaska from its purchase by the United States of America in 1867 until its organization as the District of Alaska in 1884. During the department era, Alaska was variously under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury and the U.S. Navy. The area later became the District of Alaska, then the Territory of Alaska, then the State of Alaska.

United States Department of War Former US government agency

The United States Department of War, also called the War Department, was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army, also bearing responsibility for naval affairs until the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798, and for most land-based air forces until the creation of the Department of the Air Force on September 18, 1947.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

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. [4]

Poles people from Poland

The Poles, commonly referred to as the Polish people, are a nation and West Slavic ethnic group native to Poland in Central Europe who share a common ancestry, culture, history, and are native speakers of the Polish language. The population of self-declared Poles in Poland is estimated at 37,394,000 out of an overall population of 38,538,000, of whom 36,522,000 declared Polish alone.

Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski Union United States Army general

Włodzimierz Bonawentura Krzyżanowski was a Polish-born American engineer, politician, and military leader — during the American Civil War, a brigadier general in the Union Army.

<i>Anchorage Daily News</i> daily newspaper

The Anchorage Daily News is a daily newspaper published by the Binkley Co., and based in Anchorage, Alaska. The paper was purchased by Alaska Dispatch on July 20, 2014 and was published as Alaska Dispatch News until November 18, 2017, when it was sold to the Binkley Co. It is the most widely read newspaper and news website ( in the state of Alaska.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 13, 1877
11 Henry Charles DeAhna Collector of CustomsAugust 14, 1877

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 13, 1884
20 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.GovernorTerm in officeAppointed by
1 John Henry Kinkead.gif John Henry Kinkead July 4, 1884

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

April 20, 1889
Grover Cleveland
3 Lyman Enos Knapp.jpg Lyman Enos Knapp April 20, 1889

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

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

March 2, 1906 [lower-alpha 1]
William McKinley
6 Wilford B Hoggatt.jpg Wilford Bacon Hoggatt March 10, 1906 [6]

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

Governors of the Territory of Alaska
No.PortraitTerm in officeAppointed by
1 Portrait of Walter Eli Clark.jpg Walter Eli Clark August 24, 1912

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

April 12, 1918 [lower-alpha 2]
Woodrow Wilson
3 Thomas Christmas Riggs, Jr.jpg Thomas Riggs Jr. April 12, 1918

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

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

April 19, 1933
Calvin Coolidge
6 John Weir Troy April 19, 1933

December 6, 1939
Franklin D. Roosevelt
7 Ernest Gruening (D-AK).jpg Ernest Gruening [lower-alpha 3] December 6, 1939

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

January 3, 1957 [lower-alpha 4]
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Waino Hendrickson.png Waino Hendrickson January 3, 1957

April 8, 1957
Acting [lower-alpha 5]
9 Mike Stepovich.png Mike Stepovich April 8, 1957

August 9, 1958 [lower-alpha 6]
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Waino Hendrickson.png Waino Hendrickson August 9, 1958

January 3, 1959
Acting [lower-alpha 5]

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. [11] 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. [12] Should the office of governor become vacant, the lieutenant governor assumes the title of governor. [13] 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. [14]

Governors of the State of Alaska [lower-alpha 7]
No.GovernorTerm in officePartyElection Lt. Governor [lower-alpha 8] [lower-alpha 9]
1 William A. Egan.jpg   William A. Egan January 3, 1959

December 5, 1966
(term limited)
Democratic 1958   Hugh Wade
2 Hickel.gif Wally Hickel December 5, 1966

January 29, 1969
(resigned) [lower-alpha 10]
Republican 1966 Keith Harvey Miller
3 Keith H. Miller.jpg Keith Harvey Miller January 29, 1969

December 7, 1970
(lost election) [16]
Republican Succeeded from
of State
Robert W. Ward
1 William A. Egan.jpg William A. Egan December 7, 1970

December 2, 1974
(lost election)
Democratic 1970 H. A. Boucher
4 Jay Hammond 1975.jpg Jay Hammond December 2, 1974

December 6, 1982
(term limited)
Republican 1974 Lowell Thomas Jr.
1978 Terry Miller
Bill Sheffield 1989.jpg
Bill Sheffield December 6, 1982

December 1, 1986
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1982 Steve McAlpine
6 Steve Cowper 1990.jpg Steve Cowper December 1, 1986

December 3, 1990
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1986
2 Hickel.gif Wally Hickel December 3, 1990

December 5, 1994
(not candidate for election)
[lower-alpha 11]
1990 Jack Coghill
7 GovTonyKnowles.jpg Tony Knowles December 5, 1994

December 2, 2002
(term limited)
Democratic 1994 Fran Ulmer
8 Frank Murkowski, 105th Congress photo.jpg Frank Murkowski December 2, 2002

December 4, 2006
(not candidate for election)
Republican 2002 Loren Leman
9 Sarah Palin Germany 3 Cropped Lightened.JPG Sarah Palin December 4, 2006

July 26, 2009
(resigned) [lower-alpha 12]
Republican 2006 Sean Parnell
10 Former Governor of Alaska Sean Parnell.jpg Sean Parnell July 26, 2009

December 1, 2014
(lost election) [19]
Republican Succeeded from
Craig Campbell
(took office August 10, 2009) [lower-alpha 13]
2010 Mead Treadwell
11 Bill Walker.jpg Bill Walker December 1, 2014

December 3, 2018
(withdrew from election) [22]
Independent 2014 Byron Mallott
(resigned October 16, 2018) [23]
Valerie Davidson
12 Senator Mike Dunleavy.jpg Mike Dunleavy December 3, 2018

present [lower-alpha 14]
Republican 2018 Kevin Meyer

See also


  1. Brady was forced to resign due to his involvement with the fraudulent Reynolds–Alaska Development Company. [5]
  2. Resigned on request after it was discovered he was still a Canadian citizen. [7]
  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. [8]
  4. Resigned; was reportedly unhappy with the job, and did not expect to be reappointed. [9]
  5. 1 2 As secretary of Alaska, acted as governor for remainder of term. [10]
  6. Resigned to run for United States Senate, losing that election. [10]
  7. Data is sourced from the National Governors Association, unless supplemental references are required.
  8. The office of lieutenant governor was named secretary of state until 1970. [14]
  9. Lieutenant governors have all represented the same party as their governor.
  10. Hickel resigned to become United States Secretary of the Interior. [15]
  11. Hickel was elected as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, and switched to the Republican party in April 1994. [17]
  12. Palin resigned, citing the costs of ethics investigations. [18]
  13. Campbell's position was termed "Temporary Substitute Lieutenant Governor [20] until he was confirmed by the Alaska Legislature on August 10, 2009. [21]
  14. Dunleavy's first term expires on December 5, 2022.

Related Research Articles

Keith Harvey Miller Governor of Alaska

Keith Harvey Miller was an American Republican politician from Alaska. Miller was the second secretary of state of Alaska under Walter Hickel. He became the third governor of Alaska after Hickel’s resignation. Under his tenure, Alaska came into sudden wealth after an oil lease sale on the North Slope created a revenue of $900 million.

Mike Stepovich 9th Governor of Alaska Territory

Michael Anthony "Mike" Stepovich was an American lawyer who, from 1957 to 1958, served as the last non-acting Governor of Alaska Territory. Following his education and military service during World War II, Stepovich established a law practice in his home town of Fairbanks, Alaska and began his political career by winning three terms in the Alaska Territorial legislature. During his term as governor, he was a leading advocate in the effort to gain statehood for Alaska. Following Alaska's admission to the Union, he made an unsuccessful run for a U.S. Senate seat and two unsuccessful attempts to be elected Governor of Alaska.

Alaska Statehood Act a public law enacted July 7, 1958

The Alaska Statehood Act was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 7, 1958, allowing Alaska to become the 49th U.S. state on January 3, 1959.

Jack Coghill American politician

John Bruce Coghill was a politician and businessman who was the lieutenant governor of Alaska from 1990 to 1994 under Governor Walter Hickel. Both were members of the Alaskan Independence Party.

Burke Riley was an American legislator, lawyer and public official on territorial, state and national levels. He was a signer of the Alaska Constitution, elected as one of seven at-large delegates from the First Division.

The Alaska Attorney General is the chief legal advisor to the government of the State of Alaska and to its governor. The Attorney General is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Alaska Legislature. The position has existed since the early days of the Territory of Alaska, though it was an elected rather than an appointed position prior to statehood. The Attorney General also serves as the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Law, and is the only commissioner of a principal department of Alaska state government not referred to as "Commissioner" in normal usage. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy nominated Anchorage attorney Kevin Clarkson to fill the position on December 5, 2018.

Byron Mallott American politician

Byron I. Mallott is an American politician, elder, tribal activist, and business executive from the state of Alaska. Mallott is an Alaska Native leader of Tlingit heritage, and the leader of the Kwaash Ké Kwaan clan. He was lieutenant governor of Alaska, from December 2014 until his resignation on October 16, 2018. He also previously served as the Mayor of Yakutat, the Mayor of Juneau, the President of the Alaska Federation of Natives and the executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Governor of Colorado head of state and of government of the U.S. state of Colorado

The Governor of Colorado is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Colorado. The governor is the head of the executive branch of Colorado's state government and is charged with enforcing state laws. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Colorado General Assembly, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of treason or impeachment. The governor is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.


  1. "The Governors: Compensation, Staff, Travel and Residence" (PDF). The Council of State Governments. April 3, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  2. "Purchase of Alaska, 1867". United States Department of State Office of the Historian. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  3. Gates p. 86
  4. Ruskin, Liz (2002-12-20). "Barking up the wrong Pole: Hero wasn't governor". Anchorage Daily News . Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  5. Janson, Lone (1975). The Copper Spike. Alaska Northwest Publishing Co. p. 44. ISBN   0-88240-045-2.
  6. "New Governor of Alaska". New York Times. March 11, 1906. p. 5.
  7. Gruening, Ernest (1973). Many Battles: The Autobiography of Ernest Gruening. Liveright. p. 216. ISBN   0-87140-565-2.
  8. 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.
  9. Naske, Claus-M. (1985). A History of Alaska Statehood. University Press of America. p. 244. ISBN   0-8191-4556-4.
  10. 1 2 Naske, Claus-M.; Herman E. Slotnick (1979). Alaska: A History of the 49th State. Eerdmans. p. 309. ISBN   0-8028-7041-4.
  11. AK Const. art. III, § 4
  12. AK Const. art. III, § 5
  13. AK Const. art. III, § 11
  14. 1 2 AK Const. amendments
  15. "Walter J. Hickel". National Governors Association . Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  16. "1970 Gubernatorial General Election Results - Alaska" (PDF). Alaska Division of Elections. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
  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. "2014 General Election November 4, 2014 Official Results". November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
  20. Forgey, Pat (July 28, 2009). "Alaska gets first ever 'temporary substitute' lt. governor". Juneau Empire. Archived from the original on October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  21. "House Journal, Alaska State Legislature, Twenty-Sixth Legislature, First Special Session". State of Alaska. August 10, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  22. Zak, Annie (2018-10-19). "Gov. Bill Walker drops out of campaign for Alaska governor". Anchorage Daily News. Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  23. Zak, Annie; Hanlon, Tegan; DeMarban, Alex (October 16, 2018). "Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott abruptly resigns following "inappropriate comments"". Anchorage Daily News .