Governor of Alaska

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Alaska Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2014 FY Budget:  $30,212,600
Term limits:  2 terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Constitution of Alaska, Article III, Section 1
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Bill Walker.jpg
Name:  Bill Walker
Officeholder Party:  Independent
Assumed office:  December 1, 2014
Compensation:  $145,000
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Alaska Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorAttorney GeneralComptrollerEducation CommissionerRevenue CommissionerAgriculture DirectorInsurance DirectorNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerRegulatory Commission
The Governor of Alaska is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch, and the highest state office in Alaska. The governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two consecutive terms. A term-limited governor may not be elected again until one complete gubernatorial term has passed following their last term in office.

As of May 2015, Alaska is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

See also: Alaska State Legislature, Alaska House of Representatives, Alaska State Senate

Current officer

The current governor of Alaska is Bill Walker, a former Republican who ran for election as an independent. Walker assumed office on December 1, 2014.[1] Prior to his election, Walker worked as an attorney specializing in municipal and energy law.[2]


The Constitution of Alaska addresses the office of the governor in Article III, the Executive.

Alaska Constitution, Article III, Section 1:

The executive power of the State is vested in the governor.


Current Governors
Gubernatorial Elections
Current Lt. Governors
Lt. Governor Elections
Breaking news

Under Article III, Section 6 of the Constitution, the governor may not hold any federal office or any state office in Alaska while serving as governor. Per Section 2 of the same article, the governor must be at least 30 years old, a qualified voter in Alaska, and have been both an American citizen and a resident of Alaska for a minimum of seven years on election day.

Alaska Constitution, Article III, Section 2

The governor shall be at least thirty years of age and a qualified voter of the State. He shall have been a resident of Alaska at least seven years immediately preceding his filing for office, and he shall have been a citizen of the United States for at least seven years.

Alaska Constitution, Article III, Section 6

The governor shall not hold any other office or position of profit under the United States, the State, or its political subdivisions.


Alaska state government organizational chart
See also: Gubernatorial election cycles by state
See also: Election of governors

Alaska elects governors in federal midterm election years (e.g. 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030). General elections are held on the first Tuesday and the first Monday in November.[3] Winners take office at noon on the first Monday in December following the election, per Article III, Section 4 of the state constitution.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Alaska governors are restricted to two consecutive terms in office, after which they must wait one term before being eligible to run again.

Alaska Constitution, Article III, Section 5

No person who has been elected governor for two full successive terms shall be again eligible to hold that office until one full term has intervened.


See also: Alaska Gubernatorial election, 2014
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Independent Green check mark transparent.pngBill Walker/Byron Mallott 48.1% 134,658
     Republican Sean Parnell/Dan Sullivan Incumbent 45.9% 128,435
     Libertarian Carolyn "Care" Clift/Andrew C. Lee 3.2% 8,985
     Constitution J.R. Myers/Maria Rensel 2.5% 6,987
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.3% 893
Total Votes 279,958
Election Results via Alaska Division of Elections.

Full history

Partisan composition

The chart below shows the partisan breakdown of Alaska governors from 1992-2013.
Governor of Alaska Partisanship.PNG


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article III, Sections 9 to 14.

In the event that the elected governor is unable to complete his or her term, the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska assumes the office. The lieutenant governor also becomes acting governor at any time when the elected incumbent is temporarily unable to discharge the office. If the elected governor is continually unable to discharge the office for six months, the office is deemed vacant and the lieutenant governor succeeds to the office.

In the event that a governor-elect dies, resigns, is disqualified, or otherwise does not take office, the individual elected as lieutenant governor shall become the governor.

If the lieutenant governor takes over as the governor, she or he serves as the governor for the entire remaining term.



The Governor of Alaska is 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 State Legislature, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment.

Many offices, such as that of the attorney general, which are elected offices in most states, are gubernatorial appointments in Alaska. The governor has wide latitude in searching for a nominee but must seek legislative confirmation of those nominees. The governor also appoints the officers of most state boards and commissions and has the power to make recess appointments when the legislature is not in session.

The number of departments in Alaska's state government is constitutionally capped at 20; however, the governor may decrease and increase the numbers of departments within that limit. Some reorganization of the government may be done at the governor's discretion. For changes requiring the force of law, the governor issues an executive order; the legislature then has 60 session days to reject the change, done by a majority vote of a joint session. Otherwise, the executive order stands and takes effect on a day chosen by the governor.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • upholding the faithful execution of all Alaska laws and forcing compliance when needed, either through the courts or by legislative action
  • convening special sessions of the House, the Senate, or both in a joint session
  • addressing the legislature at the beginning of each session and at other times he deems necessary, with a description of the current state of Alaska's affairs and with her or his recommendations
  • appointing all general and flag officers of Alaska's armed forces
  • proclaiming martial law for up to 20 days. (A longer declaration requires a majority vote of the joint legislature.)


The Office of the Governor oversees four main divisions: Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, Boards and Commissions, Office of International Trade and Office of Management and Budget.

Alaska State Commission for Human Rights

The State Commission for Human Rights has the following mission statement:
"Discrimination not only threatens the rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the state, but also menaces the institutions of the state and threatens peace, order, health, safety, and general welfare of the state and its inhabitants. Therefore, it is the policy of the state and the purpose of this chapter to eliminate and prevent discrimination. It is also the policy of the state to encourage and enable physically and mentally disabled persons to participate fully in the social and economic life of the state and to engage in remunerative employment."[4]

Office of Boards and Commissions

The Office of Boards and Commissions aids the governor in his or her appointments to state boards and commissions. It processes applications for appointments.

Office of International Trade

The Office of International Trade works to promote trade between Alaska and other countries.

Office of Management and Budget

The Office of Management and Budget prepares annual capital and operating budget, training materials, guidelines, budget submission timetables for executive branch agencies and advises the Governor in the budget review process. It also helps develop the Governor's budget, oversees the automated budget system and reviews proposed changes for the appropriations bill.

State budget

Role in state budget

See also: Alaska state budget and finances

The state operates on an annual budget cycle, with the fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[5][6]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in July.
  2. Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in October.
  3. Agency budget hearings are held from September through November.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature by December 15.
  5. The legislature adopts a budget by a simple majority in April.

The governor is required by statute to submit a balanced budget. Likewise, the legislature is required by statute to pass a balanced budget.[6]

Alaska is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[6][7]

Governor's office budget

The enacted budget for the Governor's Office in Fiscal Year 2014 is $30,212,600.[8]


See also: Comparison of gubernatorial salaries and Compensation of state executive officers

The governor's salary is determined by the Alaska State Officers Compensation Commission, a four-member board created by the Alaska State Legislature in 2008. This commission meets on a regular basis to evaluate salaries for the governor, lieutenant governor and other state executive officers. State law does not require legislative approval of the salaries, but legislators can vote to prevent salary changes as a veto on the commission's work.[9]

The Alaska Constitution only provides for the compensation of the governor and lieutenant governor by law. Chapter 2, Section 15 of the state constitution prevents changes in salary from taking effect until the next term for the affected office or offices.[10]


In 2014, the governor's salary remained at $145,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[11]


In 2013, the governor's salary was $145,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[12]


In 2012, the governor was paid an estimated $145,000, according to the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

Since gaining statehood in 1959, Alaska has had 13 governors. Walter J. Hickel served two non-consecutive terms as governor, and William A. Egan served two consecutive terms, followed by a third non-consecutive term.[13]

# Name Term Party
1 William A. Egan 1959-1966 Democratic
2 Walter J. Hickel 1966-1969 Republican
3 Keith H. Miller 1969-1970 Republican
4 William A. Egan 1970-1974 Democratic
5 Jay S. Hammond 1974-1982 Republican
6 William J. Sheffield 1970-1974 Democratic
7 Steve Cowper 1970-1974 Democratic
8 Walter J. Hickel 1990-1994 Alaska Independence, Republican
9 Tony Knowles 1994-2002 Democratic
10 Frank Murkowski 2002-2006 Republican
11 Sarah Palin 2006-2009 Republican
12 Sean Parnell 2009-2014 Republican
13 Bill Walker 2014-present Independent


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Alaska
Partisan breakdown of the Alaska governorship from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, there were Democratic governors in office for eight years while there were Republican governors in office for 12 years, including the last 11. Alaska was under a Republican trifecta for the last year of the study period.

Across the country, there were 493 years of Democratic governors (44.82 percent) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27 percent) from 1992-2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Alaska, the Alaska State Senate and the Alaska House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

Partisan composition of Alaska state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Alaska state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. The only trifecta in Alaska, a Republican trifecta, occurred between the years 2003 and 2006, as well as 2013. The state never had a Democratic trifecta between 1992 and 2012. Between 1995-2002 and 2007-2012, Alaska had divided government. Alaska never placed in the top-10 or bottom-10 in the SQLI ranking. Alaska’s highest SQLI ranking (16th) occurred during divided government, in 2002, while its lowest ranking (37th) occurred in 2011, also under divided government.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 32
  • SQLI average with divided government: 23.27
Chart displaying the partisanship of Alaska government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Governor Alaska."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Governor of Alaska - Google News Feed

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Contact information

Juneau Office
Alaska State Capitol Building
Third Floor

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811-0001

Phone: 907-465-3500
Fax: 907-465-3532

See also

External links