August 7, 2013 | Vol. 25 Edition 32

Walker to run unaffiliated in 2014 election

Current administration giving away too much candidate tell reporters

Former Valdez mayor Bill Walker announced Thursday that he will run as an unaffiliated candidate in the 2014 race for governor of Alaska.

Valdez Star photo
Bill Walker announced he will run as an independent in the 2014 race for the governor’s seat. Walker, seen here with his wife Donna in Sunday’s Gold Rush Days parade, is hoping to upset the incumbent governor, Republican Sean Parnell.

Walker ran as a Republican in the 2010 primaries against incumbent Sean Parnell, netting over 30 percent of the vote but falling short of receiving that all important nomination on the ballot. By running as an unaffiliated candidate, Walker avoids a primary race against Parnell, whose campaign enjoys the backing of the state’s powerful Republican Party, along with the support of many of the deep pockets of the state’s oil interests.

In an interview Monday, Walker wasted no time in criticizing Parnell.

“I just think we need a governor with some leadership and some vision,” he said. “He’s just giving away too many things.”

Walker was referring to the controversial passage of legislation passed at the urging of Parnell that reduces oil taxes by several billion dollars over the course of several years that contained no language requiring oil producers reinvest in Alaska for the generous tax break.

Which led Walker to talk about another area of concern: energy costs in rural Alaska.

“The cost of energy is just ridiculous,” he said. “We need more access to our resources.”

Walker, who is also currently the city attorney for the City of Valdez, is also legal council to the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, the municipal organization that was created by voters to build – or cause to be built – a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Valdez.

Walker held a press conference Thursday in Anchorage to make the announcement that he will run unaffiliated. . He must gather the required 3,017 signatures to qualify to have his name on the 2014 ballot the November general election ballot according to the Associated Press.

Walker has increased his name recognition since his first shot at elected statewide office against Parnell. Since then, he has become host of his own Anchorage-produced TV show, made a name for himself in the worldwide oil industry and appears before the state legislature to add his considerable knowledge on important energy issues.

At last week’s press conference, Walker was joined by the president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, Vince Beltrami, and Debra Holle Brown, a former state GOP chairwoman.

At the conference, Walker called himself an ``old-school Republican'' in the mold of the late former Govs. Wally Hickel and Jay Hammond. He said running as an independent - something he said he'd been encouraged to do - just felt right.

The Associated Press reports he said he wants to fight for Alaska without limitations.

``It's a better fit,'' he said.

Walker now resides in Anchorage but returns to Valdez frequently, as he is the city attorney for Valdez.

In the upcoming municipal elections in Valdez, the number of potential candidates for two expiring city council seats and two on the board of education are slim.

As of Monday, James “Hotai” Williams and David Lyle are the only two candidates that have returned competed petitions to have their names on the 2013 ballot.

Terms are for two years and hopefuls for city council and the board of education must return nominating petitions to the city clerk’s office – complete with the signatures of 25 voters registered in Valdez – to have their names printed on the ballot.

Longtime councilwoman Dorothy Moore announced Monday that she will not seek reelection this year. Councilman Mike Wells, whose term expires this October, has taken out a petition from the City Clerk’s office but had not returned the completed petition as Monday.

On the board of education side, current board president Steve Brockman had taken out a petition to run again, but had not returned it as of Monday. New coming Jessica Vincent has taken out a petition but likewise, had not returned hers before the Valdez Star went to press.

Terms for city council are for two years and seats on the board of education run three years.

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