The head of Alaska’s legal team announced today he is stepping down.
Alaska’s Attorney General Craig Richards has been the state’s top attorney since 2014 when he was appointed by Gov. Bill Walker.
He is an architect of Walker’s plan to spend Permanent Fund earnings to fund state government.
Former Attorney General Bruce Botelho worked with Richards as part of Walker’s transition team. He noted Richards has longtime ties with Walker, beginning with spending 10 years as his law partner.
“The governor viewed Craig as the key component to the partnership,” Botelho said. “Then, in the course of the campaign, Craig aside from the governor’s wife Donna was his closest adviser.”
Richards’ resignation came suddenly — today is his last day. Botelho said Richards will be difficult to replace.
“I think it’s fair to say there’ll be no one who will have the same broad portfolio that Craig did,” Botelho said.
Richards frequently served as the administration’s face during committee hearings and in private meetings with lawmakers.
Walker noted in announcing the resignation that Richards’ work pulled him away from his three-year-old son.
According to state records, Richards and his wife filed for divorce in late May.
Walker says he’s grateful for the sacrifices Richards and his family made. Walker expressed confidence that the state will continue to benefit from Richards’ knowledge.
Jim Cantor, currently the state’s deputy attorney general, will step in to lead the Department of Law until Walker appoints a new attorney general.