Sen. Kim Elton Chosen for Interior Director of Alaska Affairs

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today praised White House appointment of Kim Steven Elton as the Director of Alaska Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Elton has served as a member of the Alaska State Senate representing his hometown of Juneau since 1998, a position he will resign to take the Interior job.

“Kim Elton has dedicated his career to the civic affairs of Alaska, bringing outstanding experience to the Department of the Interior from elected and appointed public service, Alaska's major newspapers and its important commercial fishing industry,” said Secretary Salazar. “He not only has a broad background in state issues but also a record of bringing competing interests together for collaborative and constructive decision making. This is a record that will serve the state and the country well.”

Elton was a leader in bipartisan majorities on the issues in the Senate, where he served as Senate Democratic whip, chair of the legislative council, chair of the education committee, and a member of the resources, finance and health and social services committees. Before the Senate, he served as a member of the Alaska House of Representatives from 1994-1998, where he was House Democratic whip. His political career began in 1990 when he was elected to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, where he served until going to the House.

His previous government experience included serving as a policy aide to former Alaska Republican Lt. Governor Terry Miller as he was working on Alaska lands D-2 issues in the late '70s and early '80s in the Governor Jay Hammond Administration. Elton also was staff to the House of Representatives Democratic Caucus and Legislative Affairs Committee.

Like many Alaskans, Elton also spent several seasons commercial fishing, which led to appointments as Communications Officer, and later Executive Director, of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

He grew up in a Forest Service family in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. A Vietnam veteran, Elton attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, with a major in journalism, then worked a string of journalism jobs. They included work as an oil and gas reporter and then as city editor for the Fairbanks News-Miner; city editor for the Anchorage Times, and editor of the Juneau Empire. He has lived in Juneau with his wife Mary Lou.


Elton said the move from the Alaska Senate to Interior is a big one for him but that “The Department of the Interior's mission is fundamental to Alaska's future and I look forward to helping the Secretary and the Administration make progress both on stewardship of Alaska's resources and on the economy of the state and the nation at this critical juncture in our history.”

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