About Bill Walker
Bill Walker is a lifelong Alaskan who served as the 11th governor of our state, from 2014 to 2018. He is only the second governor born in Alaska, and during his term, he was the only Independent governor in the nation. He is seeking election as governor again in 2022 alongside Heidi Drygas, with a deep commitment to rebuilding Alaska and creating a bright future that provides his grandchildren with the same opportunities that Alaska provided him.
Bill was born in Fairbanks and grew up in Delta Junction and Valdez, where he built homes with his dad and brother while still in elementary school. The Walkers lost everything they owned during the 1964 earthquake, but rather than file bankruptcy, all six family members worked every possible job to scrape together a living. At age twelve, Bill became the post office janitor where he worked before and after school. He financed his education by working as a union carpenter, laborer, and teamster on the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. At age 27, he was mayor of Valdez, and he later served as the city’s attorney after he and his wife, Donna, graduated from the University of Puget Sound Law School. The Walkers have owned many businesses over the years, including their own law firm.
As governor, Walker assembled a Cabinet of Alaskan leaders based on qualifications, not political affiliation. When the Legislature failed to pass Medicaid expansion, Walker unilaterally accepted it, bringing $1 billion in Federal funds to Alaska annually, reducing the state’s cost of health care, and extending health care to more than 60,000 Alaskans. With bipartisan support, he reduced the state’s dependence on dwindling oil tax revenue from 90% to 30%, significantly reducing a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. He issued a declaration of statewide disaster on the opioid crisis and implemented an Incident Command System to mitigate the crisis and save lives. Walker also established the Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council (GTAC) to provide Alaska’s tribes with direct access to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Commissioners. Walker’s team developed Alaska’s first Climate Action Plan and worked closely and cooperatively with both the Obama and Trump administrations to get the best deal for Alaska. In 2020, Bill was selected as a Resident Fellow for the Harvard John F. Kennedy School Institute of Politics, where he led a course titled Bridging the Political Divide.
Bill and his wife, Donna, have four children and six grandchildren, most of whom live in Anchorage. Bill enjoys swinging a hammer, biking, downhill skiing, fishing with his grandchildren and watching them play sports, and gathering around the campfire and dining room table with his family.