One of Gov. Bill Walker’s allies overseeing the effort to build a natural gas pipeline has resigned, and plans to run for state Senate.
Former Fairbanks borough mayor Luke Hopkins, a Democrat, announced his resignation from the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation in a letter to the governor today. He is expected to challenge North Pole Republican John Coghill, the Alaska Senate majority leader.
Walker appointed Hopkins to the board last November, after removing the previous chairman and another member. The move was seen as an effort to consolidate control over the agency, which is responsible for the state’s share of the massive Alaska LNG pipeline project.
Hopkins was narrowly confirmed by the legislature in April. He said he is resigning to avoid politicizing the gas line board during the campaign.
In his resignation letter, Hopkins said he was prompted to run by a lack of leadership in Juneau. “Whether it be balancing the budget, providing stability and certainty for our critical industries, or supporting our University, the Legislature has utterly failed Alaskans,” he wrote.
In a statement, Walker said he would begin the process of finding a replacement soon.