Part II: 50 years of Alaska governors
In Part II, we turn back the clock to the first press secretary after statehood.

Gordon Evans was the post-statehood governor's press secretary and staff aide to Gov. Bill Egan. Evans had moved to Juneau from the Anchorage Daily News to cover state government for United Press International.

Egan had become ill soon after his inauguration in January 1959. Hugh J. Wade, the secretary of state (a title later changed to lieutenant governor) served as acting governor during the first session of the Alaska State Legislature.

The press room in the Egan administration - today the legislative lounge on the Capitol second floor - was off-limits, declared the exclusive turf of the Associated Press and Bob Atwood's Anchorage Times.

Evans went to the governor. He says Egan persuaded a female legislator who had an office on the second floor to use the women's rest room on the third floor so the second floor rest room could be remodeled into a new UPI office complete with private facilities.

Evans, 75, is a semiretired lawyer and lobbyist, occasionally visiting the Capitol when clients summon him from his family's summer cabin on the Inside Passage.


Scott Foster is a former television news anchor at KENI-TV in Anchorage, today retired with occasional broadcasting gigs for public radio and extended kayak expeditions around Southeast Alaska. He served as Hammond's press secretary during the governor's first term.

"I was a member of the staff, not an adviser," Foster said. "I didn't argue a position at all. I was a facilitator, not a spokesman. He (Hammond) didn't run off at the mouth. He knew what the issues were and what he wanted to say.

"Jay Hammond's greatest accomplishments were the Permanent Fund, efforts to restrain state spending at a time of increasing oil wealth, a belief that development should pay for itself and not be subsidized, repurchasing the Kachemak Bay oil leases and his beloved sense of humor."

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

David Spokeswoman Becky Hultberg speaks with Murkowski during a press conference at the Capitol in May 2006

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Bob Press Secretary John Manly, left, hands pens to Gov. Frank Murkowski during a bill-signing at the Capitol in May 2003.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Scott Foster was press secretary during the Hammond governorship.

Courtesy Of Gordon Evans

Gordon Evans sits with Gov. Bill Egan in the Governor's Office to discuss the prospects of the outcome of a recount in 1974 when Egan ran for re-election against Jay Hammond.