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Bill Walker (American politician)

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Bill Walker (American politician)

Bill Walker
11th Governor of Alaska
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 1, 2014
Lieutenant Byron Mallott
Preceded by Sean Parnell
Mayor of Valdez, Alaska
In office
1979–1980
Preceded by Mac MacDonald
Succeeded by Stephen McAlpine[1]
Personal details
Born (1951-04-16) April 16, 1951
Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.
Political party Republican (Before 2014)
Independent (2014–present)
Spouse(s) Donna Walker
Children 4
Residence Governor's Mansion
Alma mater Lewis and Clark College
University of Puget Sound
Religion Christianity
Website Official website

William M. "Bill" Walker (born April 16, 1951) is an American attorney and politician who is the 11th and current Governor of Alaska.

Born in Fairbanks, Alaska to Frances and Ed Walker, Walker was raised in Delta Junction and Valdez, Alaska. He obtained a law degree and served as mayor, city councilor, and city attorney for Valdez, and as general counsel for the Alaska Gasline Port Authority. Walker ran for Governor of Alaska in the Republican Party primary election in 2010, losing to incumbent Sean Parnell.

Walker ran as an Independent in the 2014 election, merging his campaign with that of Democratic nominee Byron Mallott, who became Walker's running mate. Both candidates' prior respective running mates withdrew from the race and the Walker/Mallott ticket defeated Governor Parnell and his running mate Daniel A. Sullivan.

Career

Walker graduated from Valdez High School, and then received his bachelor's degree from Lewis & Clark College and his law degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law.[2] In 1978, he was elected as mayor of Valdez, Alaska. At 27, he was Valdez' youngest mayor.[3] He served in the position for one year. He later served in the Valdez city council,[4] as city attorney for Valdez,[5] and as general counsel for the Alaska Gasline Port Authority.[6][7]

Political positions

For the 2014 campaign, he campaigned on a centrist platform, mixing traditionally conservative and liberal positions. Walker opposes the construction of the Pebble Mine and acknowledged the existence of climate change and the need to adopt energy policies to help mitigate its harmful effects, but supports increasing oil and gas pipeline capacities and new drilling for petroleum in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He supports gun rights and a degree of state sovereignty for Alaska. He supports the Medicaid expansion brought on by the Affordable Care Act.[8]

2010 election

Walker challenged incumbent Governor Sean Parnell in the Republican Party primary election for in 2010. Walker finished in second, with 34% of the vote, while Parnell won the nomination with 49.5%.[9]

2014 election

In 2013, Walker announced his intention to run in the 2014 gubernatorial election as a Republican.[10] Later that year, he decided to run as an nonpartisan candidate, taking the advice and encouragement of former Alaska governor Wally Hickel.[11]

Hickel was the successful 1990 Alaska Independent Party candidate who had served from 1966 to 1969 as the Republican Governor of Alaska, who in 1978 ran in the general election as an independent against incumbent Governor Jay Hammond, who had defeated him in the 1978 Republican primary.[2]

Walker selected Craig Fleener, a former Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, to run for Lieutenant Governor on his ticket.[12]

On September 2, 2014, Walker held a press conference with Byron Mallott, the Democratic Party nominee for governor, announcing that they would merge their campaigns, with Mallott replacing Fleener as his running mate.[13] Mallott's Democratic running mate for Lt. Governor, attorney Senator Hollis French also stepped aside, leaving no official Democratic party candidate in the general election.

Walker led in polls taken weeks before the November 4, 2014 general election.[14] Parnell has been criticized for his support of billions in unpopular tax reductions for the petrochemical industry and the development of a scandal featuring five years of alleged cover ups with regard to rampant sexual abuse, cronyism, corruption and whistleblower suppression, in the Alaska National Guard, for which Parnell served as Commander in Chief.[15][16][17] Following Election Day, the race was considered too close to call. On November 7, Walker and Mallott held a 3,165-vote lead,[18] which on November 11 had grown to 4,004 out of some 244,000 votes cast, or 1.6%.[19] Walker began preparing for a transition but the race remained officially uncalled and Parnell did not yet concede.[20][21][22][23][24] On November 14, after Walker and Mallott extended their lead to 4,634 votes,[25] media outlets called the race.[26][27] Two days later, Parnell conceded.

Personal life

Walker was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, the fourth child of Ed and Frances Walker. He was raised in Delta Junction and Valdez.[3]

During the 1964 Alaska earthquake, Walker was working in the family's construction business, which kept him away from danger. However, his family lost most of their personal and business possessions during the earthquake.[3][5] At the age of 12, Walker became a janitor to help his family.[3]

Walker resides in Anchorage, Alaska, with his wife, Donna. The couple has four children.[10]

References

  1. ^ "Under Oil's Powerful Spell, Alaska Was Off Guard". April 2, 1989. 
  2. ^ a b Jackinsky, McKibben (July 2, 2014). "Walker says he's taking Hickel's advice, running as independent".  
  3. ^ a b c d Revis, Lee (May 1, 2013). "Walker running for governor 2014: Second run for Valdez city attorney and Port Authority backer".  
  4. ^ Zemach, Heidi (June 30, 2014). "Walker campaigns to become Alaska Governor". Seward City News. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Hobson, Lindsay (March 28, 2014). "Walker Joins Valdez 'Choose Respect' March & Commemorates Earthquake & Oil Spill Anniversaries". Delta News. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ Dischner, Molly (September 6, 2012). "Summit to showcase Valdez as best for Alaska LNG".  
  7. ^ Dischner, Molly (December 8, 2011). "Walker pushes for natural gas pipeline to Valdez".  
  8. ^ On the Issues
  9. ^ Mauer, Richard (September 2, 2014). "It's official: Walker-Mallott will take on Parnell-Sullivan in bid for Alaska governor".  
  10. ^ a b Woodham, Scott (April 25, 2013). "Bill Walker declares intent for 2nd run at Alaska governor's office". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Walker planning to run as independent for Alaska governor".  
  12. ^ Demer, Lisa (October 14, 2013). "Walker chooses Fleener as running mate in independent bid for governor". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  13. ^ Mauer, Richard (September 1, 2014). "Walker, Mallott to join forces in governor's race". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  14. ^ Election 2014: Alaska Governor, Rasmussen Reports, September 29, 2014; retrieved October 3, 2014.
  15. ^ Jill Burke and Richard Mauer, "Parnell defends handling alaska national guard dysfunction, plans more firings", Alaska Dispatch News, October 2, 2014; retrieved October 3, 2014.
  16. ^ Jill Burke and Richard Mauer,Parnell waited years to take direct action on National Guard misconduct, Alaska Dispatch News, October 1, 2014. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  17. ^ Caslon Hatch, Debate draws standing-room-only crowd, KTUU, July 23, 2014; retrieved October 3, 2014.
  18. ^ "In governor's race, Walker has edge -- or maybe not". Alaska Dispatch News. November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Highs, lows for campaigns as votes are tallied in Alaska election". Alaska Dispatch News. November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Parnell says race isn't over as Walker moves ahead with transition planning". Alaska Dispatch News. November 12, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Governor’s race uncalled; Walker plans transition". Alaska Journal. November 13, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Walker introduces co-chairs of transition team". Houston Chronicle. November 12, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Number of uncounted votes grows in Alaska U.S. Senate race". Alaska Dispatch News. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  24. ^ "More than 50,000 votes remain to be counted in heated Alaska races". Alaska Dispatch News. November 10, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Friday vote count makes Walker victory in race for governor look certain". Alaska Dispatch News. November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Alaska Governor Race: Incumbent Republican Sean Parnell Loses To Independent Bill Walker". The Huffington Post. November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Unity ticket defeats Alaska GOP Gov. Sean Parnell in drawn-out race". Los Angeles Times. November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Sean Parnell
Governor of Alaska
2014–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Alaska
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jan Brewer
as Governor of Arizona
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Alaska
Succeeded by
David Ige
as Governor of Hawaii
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