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Permanent fund gets new trustee

Palmer native Steve Rieger gets praise from local leaders

Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gov. Sarah Palin appointed a former Anchorage legislator to a seat on the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation's Board of Trustees on Monday.

Steven Rieger, who served in the Legislature from 1985 to 1995 has been named to replace trustee Carl Brady to the six-member board that oversees the $31 billion state investment portfolio.

The appointment of Rieger won quick praise from Juneau watchers of the fund as well. Brady, whose term ends at the end of June, had advocated last year moving the corporation's headquarters to Anchorage.

Palin's press release announcing the Rieger's appointment did not say why Brady had not been re-appointed.

Palin said Rieger, who manages his own management and finance consulting businesses, will be a strong addition to the board. She cited his "broad experience, impressive credentials and statesmanlike temperament" in her appointment announcement Monday.

Rieger grew up in Palmer, and represented South Anchorage in the Legislature as a Republican, first in the House of Representatives and then the Senate. He worked as a legislative aide to former Sen. Arliss Sturgulewski, R-Anchorage.

As a legislative aide, Palin said Rieger helped develop legislation establishing the permanent fund.

Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, and former Rep. Clark Gruening, D-Juneau, praised the appointment Monday.

Kerttula called Rieger "smart and hard-working," while Gruening said he was an "outstanding choice" for the important board.

Gruening, himself a past board member, said Rieger played a critical role in development of the permanent fund as a legislative staffer and continued to advocate for the fund as a legislator.

"He's had a long history from the beginning with the permanent fund," he said.

Gruening said Rieger worked to protect the principal of the fund by adding in additional money to make up for the effects of inflation before dividends are paid out.

"He's credited with inflation proofing it later, and that has made a great difference in the size and success of the fund," he said.

In the small world of Alaska and Alaska politics, Kerttula said she also knew Rieger from growing up in Palmer.

"His mother was one of my English teachers in high school," she said.

Rieger has a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard University and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard's Graduate School of Business Administration.

After college, he worked in Seattle for Crowley Maritime Corp., and then for Seattle-based Northwest Securities Corp., and moved back to Alaska with the firm.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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