Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell's pick for commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game became official Wednesday.
No sooner had the state boards of Fish and Game fulfilled their statutory responsibility of recommending names for the post than Parnell picked the woman he'd wanted there all along -- former Parnell fisheries aide Cora Campbell. (Read "Political science at Alaska Fish and Game".)
Parnell, in a press release announcing the appointment, praised Campbell for her "fisheries experience and broad understanding of wildlife management." He called "her a great fit for the agency."
Campbell takes over the leadership of a state agency with more than 1,500 employees and a budget of about $200 million. She has been serving as acting commissioner since November.The 31-year-old Campbell was born and reared in the Southeast Alaska community of Petersburg. She holds a degree in education from Pacific Lutheran University. She served as the executive director of the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association, an advocacy group for commercial fishermen, before being hired as a state fisheries adviser by then Gov. Sarah Palin in 2007.
The job of commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game was once considered one of the world's most prestigious fish and wildlife posts, but the job opening this year attracted only two formal applicants. Both were forwarded to Parnell by the joint boards of fish and game.
The other candidate along with Campbell was Ron Sommerville, a former director of the Division of Game, a one-time candidate for governor, and a political hot-potato because of his past opposition to the state's subsistence priority law.