- Spring 2020
Bill Walker is an attorney and businessman who served as the 11th governor of Alaska, from 2014 to 2018. He was only the second governor born in Alaska, and he was the only Independent governor in the nation during his term.
Bill grew up building homes with his dad and financed his education by working as a carpenter, laborer, and teamster on the Alaska oil pipeline. At age 27, he was mayor of Valdez, later serving as city attorney. A former Republican, Walker ran as an Independent for governor in 2014, eventually merging his campaign with that of the Democratic nominee who became Walker's running mate. They defeated the Republican incumbent.
Walker assembled a cabinet of Alaskan leaders based on qualifications, not political affiliation. When the legislature failed to pass Medicaid expansion, Walker unilaterally accepted it, extending health care to 44,000 Alaskans. With bipartisan support, he reduced the state’s dependence on dwindling oil tax revenue from 90% to 30%, significantly reducing a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. He issued a declaration of statewide disaster on the opioid crisis and implemented an Incident Command System to mitigate the crisis and save lives. Walker’s team developed Alaska’s first Climate Action Plan.
Governor Walker worked closely and cooperatively with both President Obama and President Trump and their administrations. In 2017, he was at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to sign an Alaska gasline development agreement with Sinopec, China Investment Corporation, and Bank of China in the presence of President Trump and President Xi Jinping.
Walker currently works at the Brenna Bell & Walker law firm. He and his wife, Donna, have four children and six grandchildren.