Gov. Sean Parnell on Wednesday named Tesoro lobbyist Kip Knudson as his choice to replace the state's longtime representative in Washington, D.C., John Katz. Knudson, 47, said in a brief prepared statement that he was "humbled to follow in John Katz's footsteps."
The job, as defined by Katz in his long career, involves supervising a small staff in an office building between the Capitol and Union Station, concurrently tracking hundreds of issues in Congress and the Administration in which Alaska has interests, advocating the state's position without alienating opponents, working closely with Alaska's bipartisan congressional delegation, and giving detailed briefings to parades of visiting Alaska legislators, officials and journalists who found it pointless to go to Washington without stopping by for a visit.
Parnell said he believed Knudson would be a strong advocate for Alaska.
Besides his work for Tesoro, Knudson was the state's deputy commissioner for aviation under Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski and was marketing director for Era Aviation from 1998 to 2003. He also served as a legislative aide to Republican Reps. Mark Hanley and Loren Leman.
Katz was hired by Gov. Jay Hammond, a Republican, in 1979 to work on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Katz served as commissioner of natural resources under both Hammond and Democrat Bill Sheffield, who appointed him to the Washington job. Katz worked for every administration since then.