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

Name:  Sean Parnell
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  July 26, 2009
Compensation:  $145,000
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
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. The same individual may not be elected governor again until one complete gubernatorial term has passed.

As of May 2015, Alaska is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

Current officer

The current, and 10th, governor of Alaska is Sean Parnell, a member of the Republican Party. Parnell was elected lieutenant governor in 2006 along with Sarah Palin and became the governor upon Palin's resignation on July 26, 2009; he completed her term and ran for the office himself in 2010. He won a full term, which he began serving on December 6, 2010.

Before his election as lieutenant governor, Parnell operated his own private law practice in Anchorage, AL. He earned his J.D. from the Puget Sound School of Law and a B.B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University. He and his wife, Sandy, have two daughters.[1]


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.


See also: Gubernatorial election cycles by state
See also: Election of governors

Alaska elects governors in federal midterm election years (e.g. 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018). General elections are held on the first Tuesday and the first Monday in November.[2] Winners take office at noon on the first Monday in December following the election, per Article III, Section 4 of the state constitution. Thus, December 6, 2010 and December 1, 2014 are inaugural days.

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.

Partisan composition

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

Full History


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 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.

Any that 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 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 is 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: Alska State Commission for Human Rights, Boards and Commissions, Office of International Trade and Office of Management and Budget.

Also state what the divisions are expected to do for the state office (advice, research, etc.).

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."[3]

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 propsed changes for the appropriations bill.

State budget

The enacted budget for the Governor's Office in Fiscal Year 2014 is $30,212,600.[4]


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

The governor's pay is set by law and may be changed by the legislature. If the legislature lowers the gubernatorial salary, the pay cut does not take effect until the next gubernatorial term, unless the pay cut applies to all salaried state officers.


In 2013, the governor's salary was $145,000.[5]


In 2012, the Alaska Governor was paid an estimated $145,000. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

From 1959-2012, Alaska has had 10 governors.[6]

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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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


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%) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27%) 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 have 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 Alabama government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

See also

External links