ANCHORAGE (AP) -- State flags will be at half staff Thursday in honor of James Hurley, a delegate to the constitutional convention who died May 30 at his home in Hilo, Hawaii. He was 87.
Born in Oakland, Calif., Hurley first came to Alaska in the summer of 1933 to work at a Bristol Bay salmon cannery. After receiving his degree in soil science, he went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and in 1948 was assigned as district conservationist for Alaska, headquartered in Palmer.
Hurley helped organize the Palmer Independent School District and organized the area's first community college. In 1949, he became general manager of the Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corporation.
In 1955, Hurley was elected as a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention. He served as vice chairman of the Committee on Ordinances & Transitional Measures. The committee drafted the ''Tennessee Plan,'' which boosted the statehood movement by providing for the election of Alaska's first congressional delegation.
Hurley was elected to the first state legislature in 1958.
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