Sunday, September 24, 2023
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Commerce commissioner on leave to re-elect Walker

Commerce Commissioner Mike Navarre has taken leave into order to campaign for Gov. Bill Walker.

Navarre sent a memo to employees this week saying he’ll be off duty through the Nov. 6 election: “I intend to focus a significant amount of my personal time and energy in the coming weeks on the upcoming election. As such, I have decided to take a leave of absence until early November so I can focus on advocating for the candidates and issues that are of great concern to me.”

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Of concern to Navarre is shoring up support for Gov. Bill Walker, as he struggles in third place in a three-way race. Navarre, who has only been Commerce commissioner for 11 months, is a longtime advocate of a state income tax, one of Walker’s key initiatives of his fiscal plan.

Navarre is the former Borough Mayor of Kenai, and is doing something that others in the Administration have not done: separate himself from his official duties while he campaigns. That shows character. But whom can he influence? Navarre may be known in Kenai, but his name recognition is weak elsewhere in the state. And he lacks stature without his former chief of staff Larry Persily by his side.

Filling in for Navarre at Commerce is Deputy Commissioner Fred Parady.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. At least he isn’t doing it on the states dime. However campaigning to keep ones job as an appointed commissioner isn’t exactly selfless sacrifice. Navarre sure liked trying to find any and every tax he could to tax the people of the Kenai.

  2. I have known Mike and his brother Tim for quite some time. You won’t find any folks who are better Alaskans than the Navarre brothers. They have made many contributions to the state and their local communities.

    That being said, I hope that Mike fails in any effort he makes on behalf of Governor Walker. I don’t believe that even as fine a man as he is, that he can do much of anything to help Walker do anything more than finish a distant 3rd to Begich’s 2nd and Dunleavy’s election.

    As to Walker himself, I hope he goes the way of his biggest supporter from his election, that being Alice, “Bankrupt Dead Beat” Rogoff.

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