Sean Parnell is the governor of Alaska. Mr. Parnell was elevated to the job in 2009, after Sarah Palin resigned; Mr. Parnell had been her lieutenant governor. A social conservative and a strong opponent of abortion, Mr. Parnell had kept a low profile as lieutenant governor, leaving the spotlight to Ms. Palin, the controversial 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate.
A notable feature of Mr. Parnell's tenure has been a legal battle against federal restrictions on oil drilling, building roads and mining precious metals.
Amid the rush of resistance to federal initiatives nationwide — with terms like “state sovereignty,” “constitutional conservative” and “nullification” becoming increasingly common in the political patois — Alaska stands out for the considerable experience and irony it brings to the debate. No matter which party is in power in Alaska, the state has long cried for more autonomy, and its governors have boasted of filing suit, even as it has routinely received more federal money per capita than any other state.
Yet setting aside that contradiction, what legal observers say is notable about Governor Parnell’s administration is the degree to which it is following up its words of resistance with legal action — all at once and on many fronts. It is involved in high-profile issues, like protections for polar bears and overturning the health care law, but also in more obscure matters like the fate of wood bison or a small population of caribou on a remote island.
Mr. Parnell's political career began in the Alaska Legislature, where he served as a state representative and, until 2001, as a senator from Anchorage, where he owned a law practice. From 2003 to 2005, he was the deputy director of the state division of oil and gas under Gov. Lisa Murkowski. Before that, he was the director of governmental relations in the state for Conoco Phillips, the oil company. Mr. Parnell was a partner in the Anchorage office of Patton Boggs, the Washington law firm, when he announced his bid for lieutenant governor.
Mr. Parnell has been a low-key, loyal supporter of Ms. Palin, even after her return to Juneau when her vice-presidential bid failed. She had few friends and many detractors in the state capital. Ms. Palin had said her decision to cede control of the state to Mr. Parnell was partly based on her weariness with the media focus on her family.
Mr. Parnell moved to Alaska when he was 10 and graduated from East Anchorage High School. He studied business administration at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., and earned a law degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law, which is now the Seattle University School of Law. He lives in Anchorage with his wife and two daughters.
ARTICLES ABOUT SEAN PARNELL
The Commerce Department issued a formal disaster declaration that could pave the way for financial relief for the battered industry and the communities that depend on it.September 14, 2012, Friday
Gov. Sean Parnell has taken on federal restrictions on oil drilling, building roads and mining precious metals.March 30, 2011, Wednesday
The two most prominent energy policies she put in place as Alaska’s governor, oil tax increases and a proposed gas pipeline, face new challenges.March 18, 2011, Friday
Readers respond to a column by Bob Herbert on democracy in America.February 15, 2011, Tuesday
Gov. Sean Parnell is low-key compared with his predecessor, and that may help him get elected to a term of his own in November.April 23, 2010, Friday
Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell of Alaska said Sunday that Gov. Sarah Palin’s decision to resign was largely prompted by the personal legal costs of the ethics investigations against her.July 06, 2009, Monday
Sarah Palin’s successor, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, is said to be as steady as Ms. Palin has been surprising, say state political leaders.July 04, 2009, Saturday
Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell of Alaska conceded to Representative Don Young in the Republican primary for Alaska's only House seat. Mr. Parnell lost to Mr. Young by just 304 votes, and he initially signaled he would request a recount. But on Thursday, the day the state certified the results of the Aug. 26 primary, Mr. Parnell said he trusted the work of election officials and did not want to spend the state money on a recount. Mr. Parnell was endorsed for the House seat by Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republ...September 19, 2008, Friday
Rep. Don Young defeated Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, who had been endorsed by Gov. Sarah Palin, by 48,195 to 47,891.September 18, 2008, Thursday
Senator Ted Stevens’s victory came weeks after he was indicted for concealing gifts from an oil services company.August 28, 2008, Thursday
To the Editor: Re ''Raise Wages, Not Walls,'' by Michael S. Dukakis and Daniel J. B. Mitchell (Op-Ed, July 25):July 29, 2006, Saturday
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