Mike Navarre has been tapped for the lead role at the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.
Navarre has served as the Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor for the last six years. He will leave office in early November, after borough voters elect a new mayor in the upcoming runoff election on Oct. 24. In public comments, he has said he planned to take a role assisting Gov. Bill Walker in fixing the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis, but has not specifically said what that role is to be.
Walker announced in a press release Tuesday that Navarre will take over as commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development upon the departure of current commissioner Chris Hladick. Hladick has been named director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10, which includes Alaska, headquartered in Seattle.
“Chris has been an incredible asset in our drive towards building a stronger Alaska,” Walker said in the press release. “While he will be missed, I’m very pleased to see him take on this new role, and know he will serve Alaska and the country well. I commend (EPA) Administrator (Scott) Pruitt for appointing an individual who can effectively represent the interests of varied stakeholders.”
As commissioner, Navarre will oversee the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development’s various operations, including divisions regulating business licensing, banking and securities, economic development grants and efforts and community and regional affairs.
Navarre previously served as borough mayor from 1996-1999 and in the Alaska House of Representatives for six terms from 1985–1996, chairing multiple committees, including the House Finance Committee.
— Elizabeth Earl