Senator Elton Announces Resignation
Will Work for Alaska in D.C.
After 2 Decades in Elective Office
March 02, 2009
Senator Kim Elton (D-Juneau) today sent a letter of resignation
from the Alaska State Legislature to Senate President Gary Stevens.
His resignation is effective at 5:00 p.m. today (Monday).
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced Elton's
appointment as Director of Alaska Affairs for the Interior Department.
Elton will report for duty in Washington, D.C., March 16.
"The decision to leave our home, the community, and the
state was difficult for Marylou and me," Elton said this
morning, "but this is a new way to serve Alaska and the
nation." He added he has talked to the Secretary, Chief
of Staff, and Deputy Secretary of Interior and he is "very
comfortable with the balance they intend to strike between stewardship
and economic development - especially with regard to the gas
Elton's resignation ends 19 years in elective office. He was
elected twice to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, twice
to the Alaska State House and three times to the Alaska State
Senate. He also served as executive director of the Alaska Seafood
Marketing Institute, assistant state ombudsman, and senior staff
to Lt. Gov. Terry Miller in the administration of Governor Jay
Hammond. He began his professional career as a newspaper reporter
in Fairbanks during the oil pipeline construction years, was
city editor in Anchorage, and editor of his hometown newspaper,
the Juneau Empire.
Senate President Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak) said Elton will be missed.
"Kim has been a great public servant to our state. His wealth
of experience and insight has been an invaluable contribution
to our bipartisan working group," said Stevens. "In
his new position, he will be an important ally and contact for
Alaska in the Federal Government."
"It's been an honor and privilege to serve Juneau and Alaska
on the assembly and in the legislature," Elton said. "It's
also been humbling. I've learned so much from my colleagues,
from my great staff, and from Alaskans across the state. I've
also learned public service mandates continuing education and
the folks I've met from across the state will continue to be
resources when I need to learn more about the myriad of issues
the department deals with in Alaska."
In a prepared statement Governor
Sarah Palin said, "Senator Elton pledged his allegiance
to President Obama last summer. We wish him well as he moves
on and hope that he uses this job for Alaska's benefit - to advance
the state's oil and gas issues, including the natural gas pipeline,
and to work diligently to remove the barriers imposed upon all
states that want to open up their shores to off-shore drilling.
I hope he can represent Alaskans by opening ANWR, conveying
the importance of responsible mining development, and building
roads- - all issues crucial to the future of our state."
"From my very first conservation
with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, I have emphasized the importance
of maintaining the position of Director of Alaska Affairs at
the Department of the Interior," Murkowski said in a prepared
statement. "I congratulate Kim on his appointment and I
look forward to working with him on strengthening Alaska's unique
relationship with the federal government."
In a prepared statement Sen.
Mark Begich said, "As a former commercial fisherman, newspaperman
and long-time state legislator, Kim Elton has a broad depth of
experience as a result of his nearly 50 years as an Alaskan.
He'll need to rely on every bit of that knowledge as he helps
the Obama administration and its Interior Department understand
the unique needs of Alaskans as the Interior secretary's right-hand
man on Alaska."
Begich said, "I've known Kim for many years to be a knowledgeable,
diplomatic and open-minded public policy maker who puts the interests
of his state first. I look forward to working with him in Washington
to advance Alaska issues, from a gas pipeline to subsistence
The Department of the Interior manages more than 200 million
acres of land in Alaska. Department agencies include the Bureau
of Indian Affairs, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National
Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. These and other
department agencies are involved in issues as diverse as endangered
species applications, gas pipeline issues, and offshore oil drilling
Governor Palin has 30 days to nominate a replacement for Senator
Elton, who must be accepted by the remaining nine Senate Democrats.
Senate leadership will keep Sen. Elton's staff in place during
the transition to ensure constituent services can continue and
to track and monitor legislation and budget issues.
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