Gov. Frank Murkowski on Thursday named former oil industry lawyer and executive David Marquez as Alaska attorney general.
The position has been open since former Attorney General Greg Renkes resigned Feb. 6 after months of criticism for alleged ethical breaches in an international trade deal.
Marquez has practiced law in Alaska for more than 30 years, most recently for the state. Previously he was general counsel for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., associate general counsel for Atlantic Richfield Co., and vice president and chief counsel for ARCO Alaska. He also served as ARCO Alaska's vice president of external affairs and environment, health and safety, and was a counsel for Phillips Alaska.
Though Marquez worked for oil companies, he said he doesn't consider himself an "oil industry man."
"While I'm very familiar with the issues that are pertinent to the industry, I'm not loyal to any given company," he said.
Marquez was selected for his experience in natural resource law.
"As we are looking to negotiate a gas pipeline contract and looking to other natural resource development, his background will be of great benefit to Alaskans and the Department of Law," Murkowski spokeswoman Becky Hultberg said.
The 59-year-old was born in Wendling, England, during World War II and moved to Chicago shortly afterward. He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Northwestern University and received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin.
Marquez left the oil industry in 2001 and began working at the Alaska Department of Law two years later. The chief assistant attorney general in the department's legislative and regulations section drafted bills for the governor and reviewed the constitutionality of legislation.
The appointee said he will not work on any great policy changes but will concentrate on the governor's agenda.
Since February, Marquez has served as acting deputy attorney general in the civil division of the Alaska Department of Law, the position once occupied by Acting Attorney General Scott Nordstrom, who would step down if Marquez is confirmed by the Legislature.
House minority leader Ethan Berkowitz, D-Anchorage, said he has worked with Marquez for years and thinks he is a good choice.
"I don't know his position on some of the issues," he said. "But he's someone who's proven his mettle over a wide range of fields over a long period of time."
The position will be under closer watch after the public learned Renkes owned more than $100,000 of stock in KFx, a company included in a deal to market Cook Inlet coal to Taiwan. Allegations were dropped by the Alaska Personnel Board after Renkes resigned.
This legislative session, Murkowski recommended a bill that will limit the amount of personal holdings state workers have in companies with which they conduct official business.
Marquez was subjected to an ethics review board before being chosen, Hultberg said.
Andrew Petty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org