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Alaska DOT commissioner submits resignation letter

Kyle Hopkins
Marc Luiken

The head of the state Transportation Department is resigning.

Commissioner Marc Luiken, who has led the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities for more than a year, plans to leave the job on Oct. 1.

Luiken, 53, announced his resignation in a letter to Gov. Sean Parnell Wednesday.

"My personal commitment throughout has been to loyally serve and support you as a friend, but more importantly as our governor; to model our departments' values of integrity, excellence and respect," Luiken wrote. "While we may not always agree on the methods, our pursuit toward a better future for the state we love has never wavered."

The department employs nearly 3,200 full-time workers and oversees an operating budget of more than $621 million and a construction budget of more than $1.1 billion.

Luiken, a retired Air Force officer who made $135,000 as a state commissioner, gave no reason for leaving the post. Members of his staff said Luiken was traveling in Bethel Thursday and was not immediately available for comment.

"I'm not aware of the commissioner's future plans," Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said in an email.

Asked by email if Parnell asked Luiken to step down, Leighow did not directly respond to the question.

"Gov. Parnell appreciates the commissioner's service to the state. Commissioner Luiken is a hard-working man of integrity and we wish him well in his future endeavors," she wrote.

The Alaska Legislature confirmed Luiken as transportation commissioner in April 2011.

Luiken joined the department in June 2010 as deputy commissioner of aviation, according to his state biography. He served 29 years in the U.S. Air Force, including serving as vice commander of the 11th Air Force at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

As transportation commissioner, Luiken replaced Leo von Scheben, a Sarah Palin appointee who resigned after Parnell's election to a four-year term in 2010.

Twitter updates: twitter.com/adn_kylehopkins. Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334 or email him at khopkins@adn.com.

PDF: Commissioner Luiken's resignation letter
By KYLE HOPKINS
Anchorage Daily News