Two familiar faces leaving Gov. Walker's administration
Attorney General and DNR Commissioner replacements ready for office
Familiar faces with strong Valdez ties are leaving Gov. Bill Walker's cabinet.
Acting Natural Resources Commissioner Marty Rutherford - who grew up in Valdez, the daughter of the late John and Jeanette Kelsey - is retiring as acting commissioner for the Dept. of Natural Resources, DNR.
As a second blow, Craig Richards, Walker's former law partner who has served as attorney general since Walker's election, also resigned his post, citing conflicting demands between the job and his family.
Walker named Jahna Lindemuth, an Anchorage attorney and recent finalist for the Alaska Supreme Court, as the new attorney general during a press conference late Tuesday afternoon.
Richards, age 41, announced his resignation through a written statement from the governor's office.
"I feel I need to re-focus on my family, which is impractical given the travel and workload requirements of the job," he said in the statement.
Richards resignation was effective a week ago Thursday.
"With great reluctance, I have accepted Craig's resignation," Walker said in the statement. "When I appointed Craig in December 2014 as Attorney General, I knew Alaskans would benefit from his deep respect for the law and his vast knowledge of finance. As the state's top attorney, work has pulled him away from his 3-year-old son, and I am grateful for the sacrifices he and his family have made in service to Alaska. "
Jim Cantor, the Deputy Attorney General, has stepped in to lead the Department of Law "until the governor appoints a new Attorney General," Walker's office said.
Rutherford's retirement was also announced via the governor's office and is effecive June 30.
Walker selected Andy Mack, an Anchorage attorney with a background in oil and gas as the new commissioner. Mack is a managing director of Pt Capital, a private equity fund the Associated Press reported.
Rutherford had been acting commissioner since the February retirement of Mark Myers.
Rutherford was later appointed by Walker as a trustee to board of the state's Permanent Fund Corp. - a position formerly held by her late father.
Rutherford's biography on the DNR website shows a person with a long history of public service - and deep Alaska roots.
"Marty Rutherford has held leadership positions in state government for more than 27 years. She has considerable experience in the oil and gas sector as well as the development of state natural resource law and policy," her biography says. "Rutherford has a key role in the State's efforts to develop a North Slope natural gas project and has been involved in gasline issues for more than 20 years. She was appointed Acting Commissioner by Governor Bill Walker in 2016 after having served in this capacity several times in the past. Rutherford served as DNR Deputy Commissioner from 1992 to 2005, and from late 2014 until her current appointment."
She has also has served as a director and a deputy commissioner in the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Rutherford also worked as a project manager for Linc Energy before rejoining DNR in 2014.