Governor Sean Parnell has just a few more days on the job. Governor-elect Bill Walker will be inaugurated during a ceremony in Juneau at 11:30 on Monday morning.
Parnell has been Alaska’s governor a little over five years. He was sworn into office on July 26, 2009, after Sarah Palin resigned earlier that month. Parnell says he doesn’t know what’s next for him, but he expects to keep working on the issues his administration prioritized.
“Whether it’s resources and energy, whether it’s domestic violence, public safety arena,” he said. “You’ll likely see me continue to engage in those areas. Those reflect my heart and my passion for Alaska and I’ll look for ways to continue that service.”
Parnell lost to Walker in a close race – the candidates were separated by about 6,000 votes. But he says he doesn’t want to look back and consider what might have cost him the election.
This year, Parnell spent a lot of time defending the actions he took to address the sexual assault scandal in the Alaska National Guard. Parnell says he’s spoken to Governor-elect Bill Walker and urged him to use the National Guard Bureau recommendations for reform as his roadmap forward on the issue:
“If what has been learned is just allowed to rest and we let the cover come back over it all that doesn’t help anybody,” he said. “So this is one of those key areas that requires immediate attention and that’s exactly what I’ve communicated to the governor elect.”
Parnell says in the short term he’s looking forward to spending time with his first grandchild, a boy named Rowan, who was born on November 18th.
“When the world goes upside down and inside out all you have to do is hold a newborn and everything is made aright,” he said. “And that’s been my experience. It just puts life back into perspective and makes you thankful.. and that’s really how I leave office, that’s how Sandy leaves as first lady is we are so thankful for the opportunity to have served.”
Parnell says he doesn’t have any words of advice for Walker but he wishes him the best as he takes over the governor’s office.