July 19, 2005
"Don Gilman was a good friend and a tireless public servant," said the governor. "I knew and respected him as a statesman, a leader and an advocate for the people of the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Throughout his time in public office, he was known for his political acumen and his uncompromising integrity. Don was respected and loved throughout the state. I send my deepest condolences to his family."
Gilman moved to Alaska in 1968 and was well known as an educator, a businessman and a public servant. He served as assistant director of the Alaska Skill Center (now AVTEC) in Seward from 1969 to 1975. He served as Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor from 1975 to 1980, and in the Alaska State Senate from 1980 through 1984.
In 1987, he was again elected borough mayor, serving two terms from 1987 to 1996. During his time as borough mayor, he led the Kenai Peninsula Borough response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, working with then-Senator Murkowski to help establish the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council.
Gilman also advocated for enhanced protections for the Kenai River and for streamlined permitting for property owners along the river. He led the effort to establish the Kenai River Center in Soldotna, which houses a variety of state, federal and local permitting agencies. He also served as co-host of the Kenai River Classic fishing tournament for several years, bringing public awareness of the need for fish habitat protection and restoration.
A strong believer in community, Gilman helped to establish the Boys and Girls Club on the Kenai Peninsula, served as chairman of the United Way campaign and was a strong supporter of the Caring for the Kenai contest.
Flags will be raised to full staff on the morning of Wednesday, July 27.
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