Walter Joseph Hickel

Walter Joseph Hickel

Infobox Officeholder
name = Walter Joseph Hickel

imagesize =

caption =
order = 38th United States Secretary of the Interior
term_start = January 24, 1969
term_end = November 25, 1970
president = Richard Nixon
predecessor = Stewart Udall
successor = Rogers Morton
order2 = 2nd Governor of Alaska
term_start2 = December 5, 1966
term_end2 = January 24, 1969
lieutenant2 = Keith H. Miller
predecessor2 = William A. Egan
successor2 = Keith H. Miller
order3 = 8th Governor of Alaska
term_start3 = December 3, 1990
term_end3 = December 5, 1994
lieutenant3 = Jack Coghill
predecessor3 = Steve Cowper
successor3 = Tony Knowles
birth_date = birth date and age|1919|08|18
birth_place = Ellinwood, Kansas
death_date =
death_place =
party = Republican
(c.1937-1990, April 1994-present)
otherparty = Alaskan Independence Party (1990-April 1994)
spouse =
profession =
religion =

Walter Joseph "Wally" Hickel (born August 18, 1919) is an American Republican politician who served as the 2nd and 8th Governor of Alaska. His first term as governor was from 1966 to 1969, and ended upon with Hickel's resignation upon his confirmation in the position of United States Secretary of the Interior in the Cabinet of President Richard Nixon. He then served a complete term from 1990 to 1994.

Early life and career

Born in Ellinwood, Kansas, Hickel relocated to Alaska in 1940, going into the local real estate industry. By 1947, Hickel had formed a successful construction company. While some fellow Republicans in the Alaska Territory opposed statehood, Hickel joined Democrats in calls for joining the Union during the late 1940s and into the 1950s. Using his growing popularity among Alaskan Republicans and growing political clout in Washington, Hickel was able to travel to the nation's capital to engage in talks with key Republicans in both the U.S. Congress and within the Eisenhower Administration to speak about Alaskan statehood. Thanks in part to his efforts, Hickel's debates with Congressional leaders led to enough initially hesitant Republicans voting in favor of the Alaska Statehood Act in 1958.

Political career

First governorship

Hickel was elected as Alaska's second governor in the 1966 state general elections, defeating his Democratic rival and incumbent governor William Egan. Hickel's first governorship, the second in the young state's history as well as Alaska's first Republican governorship, oversaw the discovery of oilfields at Prudhoe Bay in 1968, a factor that would prove politically decisive in later years. Hickel, a moderate Republican and environmentalist, did not push for heavy oil exploitation. In 1968, Hickel appointed Ted Stevens to the United States Senate to replace the recently deceased Bob Bartlett.

Like his predecessor William Egan, Hickel sought to improve relations with Alaskan Natives in seeking resolutions on Native land claims.

Interior Secretary

Following Richard Nixon's win to the Presidency in late 1968, the President-elect asked Hickel to serve within the United States Cabinet as Interior Secretary. Initially, Hickel declined the cabinet offer. Nixon replied that his decision was final. Hickel would recall years later that he cried afterwards, and announced he would be resigning from the governorship to go to Washington.

Upon becoming the federal Secretary of the Interior, Hickel proved to be a strong environmentalist, supporting liberal Congressional laws that put liabilities on oil companies operating offshore oil rigs, as well as demanding environmental safeguards on Alaska's growing oil industry.cite news
title=TOPICS OF THE TIMES; Wally Redux|url=
publisher=New York Times
date=1990-11-08 |accessdate=2008-09-05
] His voice would ruffle other more conservative elements within the cabinet.

Hickel's centrist-liberal voice inside the Nixon Administration eventually led to confrontations with the President. In 1970 following the shooting of college students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard, Hickel wrote a letter critical of Nixon's Vietnam War policy and urging him to give more respect to the views of young people critical of the war. This dissent garnered worldwide media attention, and on Nov 25, 1970, Hickel was fired over the letter. ]

econd governorship

In 1990, an open primary nominated Alaska State Senator Arliss Sturgulewski as the Republican candidate for Governor of Alaska, facing the Mayor of Anchorage, Democrat Tony Knowles, in the general election. [cite news
title=The 1990 Elections: State By State; West |url=
publisher=New York Times
date=1990-11-07 |accessdate=2008-09-05
] Sturgulewski was criticized by many Republicans for her positions on issues such as abortion and capital punishment. Alaskan Independence Party chairman Joe Vogler seized on this discontent to offer the seats on the AIP ticket to Hickel and Jack Coghill, who had been nominated as the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska. John Howard Lindauer and Jerry Ward, the previous AIP candidates, stepped aside, citing the illness of Lindauer's wife [ ] , and Hickel and Coghill prevailed in the general election.

Although he had common ground with the Alaska Independence Party in fighting restrictions on land use imposed by federal environmentalism, Hickel had been one of the most influential historical proponents of Alaska statehood and never endorsed the AIP's secessionism, prompting some party faithful to petition for his recall. He rejoined the Republican Party in April 1994, near the tail end of his term. [cite news
title=Two in the House Advance In Drive for Senator's Seat |url=
publisher=New York Times
date=1990-08-25 |accessdate=2008-09-07

ince 1994

In 2006 he supported Sarah Palin in her bid to become governor of Alaska. []

In 2008, he called for the resignation of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, whom he appointed to the Senate in 1968 in light of his indictment related to the alleged receipt of improper gifts from the VECO Corporation, an Alaskan pipeline service and construction company. []

Hickel is also a real estate developer and chairman of Hickel Investment Company.

External links

* [ Interview with Hickel by Headwaters News]


NAME= Hickel, Walter Joseph
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Governor of Alaska, United States Secretary of the Interior
DATE OF BIRTH= 1919-08-18
PLACE OF BIRTH= Ellinwood, Kansas

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