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Alaska budget expert Gunnar Knapp to retire from post as ISER director

  • Author: Alex DeMarban
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published December 2, 2015

A leader in the effort to address the state's towering fiscal problem has announced he's retiring -- sort of.

Gunnar Knapp, director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage, said in a letter to colleagues and friends, posted on ISER's website Wednesday, that he'll retire from the think tank's top position. But he says he'll continue to work there part-time, in particular to help promote discussions about the state's $3.5 billion deficit.

"I will also continue my decades-long research on Alaska's salmon industry and salmon markets," he said in the letter.

Knapp said he's worked at ISER for 35 years and he'll retire June 30, when the current academic year ends.

At that point, he will have been director three years. He said he wants to spend more time with family and enjoying the outdoors, and "finally finish" his book on the economics of fish.

"I can't imagine a more interesting and rewarding career than studying and teaching about Alaska's resources, economy and society," he said.

To highlight the state's fiscal problem, Knapp recently created a large wooden scale with blocks representing costs and new taxes in an effort to give people a hands-on way to grasp the huge challenge of balancing the budget.

"I am committed to ensuring that this very important work continues," he said.

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