Gov. Frank Murkowski on Thursday appointed McKie Campbell, a Juneau resident since 1979, the new commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The governor also promoted Kurt Fredriksson to commissioner of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, where he has served as acting commissioner since October.
The commissioners were sworn in Thursday in Anchorage but still must be confirmed by the Legislature.
The appointment of Fish and Game commissioner has been closely watched by fishing and hunting interest groups since December. Eight candidates, including several current department employees, were reviewed by the state boards for Fisheries and Game.
Since 1995, Campbell, 54, has been involved in private consulting, developing environmental studies for major Alaska industries, including the Pogo Mine, the Greens Creek Mine and the A-J Mine.
He also worked with the state on revisions to its coastal zone management rules, which have been beset by controversy in recent months.
"He's just a wonderful, wonderful man. I have seen him stand up professionally for Fish and Game's point of view many times," said Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau.
"He is a good choice," said Randy Wanamaker, a Juneau Assembly member and environmental consultant. "He has a broad understanding of environmental and biological issues. I've always found him willing to sit down and listen."
Campbell said he will work to acquire more financial support for scientific research at Fish and Game. "The department faces significant funding issues right now."
With huge allocation conflicts at stake for hunting and sport and commercial fisheries in some regions, the department needs "the best and most accurate scientific data to make decisions," he said.
Campbell did a nine-year stint with the Alaska Senate as a legislative committee staff member, after which he moved to Fish and Game, where he served as special assistant to the commissioner and deputy commissioner. He also was a deputy chief of staff for Gov. Walter Hickel. He acquired a bachelor's degree from Marietta College in Ohio.
He is a past member of the Juneau Assembly and the Juneau Planning Commission.
He replaces former commissioner Kevin Duffy, who resigned in December to take a job with a Seattle-based at-sea fish processing conglomerate.
Fredriksson, 54, has been interim DEC commissioner since October, when his predecessor, Ernesta Ballard, left to take a job with Weyerhaeuser Co., an international forest-products company.
Before that, Fredriksson served as DEC's deputy commissioner. Fredriksson, 54, graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor's degree in geography and a master's degree in environmental studies. He worked in the Office of Coastal Management before moving to the Department of Environmental Conservation, where he also worked as Spill
Prevention and Response Division director.
Fredriksson said Thursday: "As we all know, the governor has an ambitious agenda for promoting responsible development of Alaska's resources and protection of public health. I very much appreciate the opportunity given me by the governor to move the governor's agenda forward as (DEC) commissioner."
Murkowski said in a prepared statement, "Kurt is the right man at the right time to lead DEC as they work to streamline permitting, while ensuring environmental protection."
Elizabeth Bluemink can be reached at email@example.com.
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