Jay Hammond
Jay Sterner Hammond was an American politician of the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, who served as the fourth Governor of Alaska from 1974 to 1982.

Early life

Jay Sterner Hammond was born in Troy, New York
Troy, New York
Troy is a city in the US State of New York and the seat of Rensselaer County. Troy is located on the western edge of Rensselaer County and on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Troy has close ties to the nearby cities of Albany and Schenectady, forming a region popularly called the Capital...

 in 1922. Hammond studied petroleum engineering
Petroleum engineering
Petroleum engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the activities related to the production of hydrocarbons, which can be either crude oil or natural gas. Subsurface activities are deemed to fall within the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, which are the activities of...

 at Penn State University, where he was a member of Triangle Fraternity
Triangle Fraternity
Triangle Fraternity is a social fraternity, limiting its recruitment of members to male students majoring in engineering, architecture, and the physical, mathematical, biological, and computer sciences...

. He later served as a Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 fighter pilot
Fighter pilot
A fighter pilot is a military aviator trained in air-to-air combat while piloting a fighter aircraft . Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare and dogfighting...

 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 with the Black Sheep Squadron, and in China, until 1946. That year, Hammond moved to Alaska where he worked as a bush pilot and earned a degree in biological sciences
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 at the University of Alaska
University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks, located in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, is the flagship campus of the University of Alaska System, and is abbreviated as Alaska or UAF....


Alaska Legislature

Hammond served as a state representative
Alaska House of Representatives
The Alaska House of Representatives is the lower house in the Alaska Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Alaska. The House is composed of 40 members, each of whom represents a district of about 15,673 people . Members serve two-year terms without term limits...

 from 1959 to 1965 and as a state senator
Alaska Senate
The Alaska Senate is the upper house in the Alaska Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Alaska. The Senate consists of twenty members, each of whom represents an equal amount of districts with populations of about 31,347 people . Senators serve four-year terms, without term...

 from 1967 to 1973. Hammond served in the 1st Alaska State Legislature
1st Alaska State Legislature
The 1st Alaska State Legislature served during 1959 and 1960. All of its members were elected on November 25, 1958, when Alaska was in its last days as a territory.-Terms:...

 as an independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

, joining thirty-four Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 and five Republicans in the forty-member House. At the time, Hammond believed that a Republican could not be elected in that particular time and place, but that he could not envision running as a Democrat on account of his upbringing and background. He did serve as a Republican in subsequent legislatures, however. He was Senate President in his final two years in the legislature.


Hammond was the mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 of the Bristol Bay Borough from 1972 to 1974. He also served as the borough's manager during his time away from the legislature in the 1960s.

Governor of Alaska

Hammond was elected governor in 1974 in a close result over incumbent William A. Egan. The race was complicated by two major factors, amongst others. One was a reversal of roles of sorts, where Hammond and his running mate Lowell Thomas, Jr.
Lowell Thomas, Jr.
Lowell Jackson Thomas, Jr. is a film and television producer who collaborated with his father, the accomplished reporter and author Lowell Thomas, on several projects before becoming an Alaskan State Senator in the early 1970s, and later the fifth Lieutenant Governor of Alaska .In the 1980s, he...

 were identified as conservationists, confusing and splitting the traditional party base. The other was the appearance, for the first time, of a substantial third-party candidate, Fairbanks miner and real estate developer Joe Vogler
Joe Vogler
Joseph E. "Joe" Vogler was the founder of the Alaskan Independence Party, and either its chair or gubernatorial nominee for most of its first two decades of existence...

. Vogler's open contempt for the environmental movement created a further voter rift which no doubt helped Hammond.

As governor during the biggest economic boom in Alaska's history, the construction
Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System
The construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System was a massive undertaking involving tens of thousands of people often in extreme temperatures and conditions. Specialized construction techniques were pioneered to build the pipeline, most of which rests in or on the permafrost that underlies the...

 of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System
Trans-Alaska Pipeline System
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System , includes the Trans Alaska Pipeline, 11 pump stations, several hundred miles of feeder pipelines, and the Valdez Marine Terminal. TAPS is one of the world's largest pipeline systems...

, Hammond oversaw the creation of the Alaska Permanent Fund
Alaska Permanent Fund
The Alaska Permanent Fund is a constitutionally established permanent fund, managed by a semi-independent corporation, established by Alaska in 1976, primarily by the efforts of then Governor Jay Hammond...

. The concept of the Permanent Fund, originally championed in 1969 by then-governor Keith Miller
Keith Harvey Miller
Keith Harvey Miller is an American Republican politician from Alaska. Miller was the second Lieutenant Governor of Alaska under Walter Hickel from 1966 until Hickel's resignation to become U.S. Secretary of Interior in the Cabinet of President Richard M...

 and Anchorage Times
Anchorage Times
The Anchorage Times was a daily newspaper published in Anchorage, Alaska that became known for the pro-business political stance of longtime publisher and editor, Robert Atwood. Competition from the McClatchy-owned Anchorage Daily News forced it out of business in 1992.-History:The Anchorage Times...

publisher and editor Robert Atwood
Robert Atwood
Robert Bruce Atwood was the long-time editor and publisher of the Anchorage Times, and a proponent of Alaska statehood.-Biography:...

 on the eve of the Prudhoe Bay oil lease sale, lay dormant for years as a result of the legislature spending the proceeds of the lease sale and construction delays associated with the pipeline. During his first term as governor, Hammond, along with a young state representative from Kenai
Kenai, Alaska
Kenai is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 7,464...

 named Hugh Malone, conceived a program to invest oil
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

Royalties are usage-based payments made by one party to another for the right to ongoing use of an asset, sometimes an intellectual property...

 to cover future state budget
A budget is a financial plan and a list of all planned expenses and revenues. It is a plan for saving, borrowing and spending. A budget is an important concept in microeconomics, which uses a budget line to illustrate the trade-offs between two or more goods...

 shortfalls as well as create a long-term savings account. Alaska voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing the Permanent Fund in 1976, one of the rare exceptions to the constitutional intent of not dedicating funds for a specific purpose.

Since the early 1980s, the Permanent Fund has paid annual dividends to Alaska residents, under a program in which credit has been variously given to, or taken by, Hammond, Malone, Libertarian
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

 state representative Dick Randolph
Dick Randolph
Richard L. "Dick" Randolph is a longtime insurance agency owner in Fairbanks, Alaska who is best known as the first person to be elected to partisan office under the banner of the Libertarian Party with his election to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1978. He was re-elected in 1980...

 and numerous other Alaskan politicians of the day. At around the same time, Alaska eliminated its state income tax. Hammond is often erroneously credited for this; in fact, he was actually staunchly opposed to the idea. The elimination of the income tax was actually championed by Randolph, who persuaded his fellow legislators to pass the bill after mounting an initiative
In political science, an initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote...

 to force a public vote should the legislature not act. A 1980 episode of the public television program Alaska Review (currently held in the collections of the Alaska Film Archives
Alaska Film Archives
The Alaska Film Archives, located at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, holds the largest collection of film related material about Alaska. The archive was established in 1968, and consists almost entirely of 16mm film dating from the years 1920 to 1959. Since 1993, the archive has been...

) prominently featured an edited "debate" between Hammond and Randolph on the subject, centered on the fact that Alaska faced a one-billion-dollar budget surplus that year.

As governor, Hammond advocated for fiscal responsibility, and introduced an amendment
Constitutional amendment
A constitutional amendment is a formal change to the text of the written constitution of a nation or state.Most constitutions require that amendments cannot be enacted unless they have passed a special procedure that is more stringent than that required of ordinary legislation...

 to the Alaska Constitution
Alaska Constitution
The Constitution of the State of Alaska is the constitution of the U.S. state of Alaska. It was ratified in 1956 and took effect with Alaska's admission as a state on January 3, 1959.-The statehood movement:...

 limiting state spending. This was mocked by one legislator as "Spendy Limitation," with an accompanying elegant and obfuscatory statement mimicking Hammond's unique way with the English language. He advocated for another constitutional amendment providing for governors to serve a single 6 year term without possibility of further service. He felt it would allow governors a free hand in accomplishing their goals. He also championed a program which opened large amounts of state-owned lands near Delta Junction for agricultural use. While greater aspects of the program have been variously condemned as a "boondoggle
Boondoggle (project)
A boondoggle is a project that is considered to waste time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations.- Etymology :...

" over the years, Delta Junction has managed to emerge as one of the larger agricultural producing communities in Alaska. He also vigorously fought with the legislature over power struggles between the two branches of government, culminating with four proposed constitutional amendments on the 1980 ballot, all of which failed by large margins.

Later life

After his tenure as governor, Hammond continued to be active in public life. He advocated for environmentally and fiscally responsible government, and individual civic responsibility. Hammond has written articles for newspapers in Alaska, and appeared in public service announcements on television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. He hosted a television series called Jay Hammond's Alaska from 1985 to 1992. Hammond survived a rafting accident on August 6, 1988 while shooting an episode of the series on the Tana River in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Killed in the accident were Larry Holmstrom, the show's executive producer, Holmstrom's daughter Maria, and cameraman Ronald Eagle. Three others on the raft besides Hammond also survived, including one who also fell into the water of the Class IV river
International Scale of River Difficulty
The International Scale of River Difficulty is a standardized scale used to rate the safety of a stretch of river, or a single rapid. The grade reflects the technical difficulty and skill level required associated with the section of river...


Hammond wrote three autobiographies, Tales of Alaska's Bush Rat Governor: The Extraordinary Autobiography of Jay Hammond, Wilderness Guide and Reluctant Politician, Chips from the Chopping Block: More Tales from Alaska's Bush Rat Governor and Diapering The Devil: How Alaska Helped Staunch Befouling by Mismanaged Oil Wealth; a Lesson for Other Rich Nations. The latter book, published in 2011, was co-edited by Hammond's granddaughter Lauren Stanford. Hammond also wrote the preface to Brother Asaiah, As Remembered by Martha Ellen Anderson and Friends, a memoir of the life of Homer
Homer, Alaska
Homer is a city located in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population was 5,364. One of Homer's nicknames is "the cosmic hamlet by the sea"; another is "the end of the road"...

 businessman and peace activist Brother Asaiah Bates, which was published in 2006 following the deaths of both Bates and Hammond.

Hammond's last major public appearances were in early 2004, centered around the Conference of Alaskans convened by governor Frank Murkowski
Frank Murkowski
Francis Hughes Murkowski is an American politician and a member of the Republican Party. He was a United States Senator from Alaska from 1981 until 2002 and the eighth Governor of Alaska from 2002 until 2006.- Early life and career :...

. Murkowski, recalling the spirit of the constitutional convention, assembled fifty-five delegates from across Alaska to meet at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks, located in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, is the flagship campus of the University of Alaska System, and is abbreviated as Alaska or UAF....

 to tackle specific questions regarding Alaska's fiscal future. Apart from launching the political career of Mark Neuman
Mark Neuman
Mark Neuman is a Republican member of the Alaska House of Representatives, representing the 15th District since 2004. He is currently serving as Co-Chair of the Resources Committee, Vice-Chair of the Labor & Commerce Committee and is a member of the Rules Committee, Economic Development, Trade &...

, who proclaimed himself to be one of the few ordinary people amongst the delegates and who was elected to the state house later that year, little was accomplished by the conference in the end. Hammond spent much of the conference holding court outside of the Wood Center ballroom where sessions were held, espousing his own solutions, which included doubling the amount of the Permanent Fund dividend and restoring the state income tax, the latter of which was strongly opposed by Murkowski. The delegates responded to Hammond by endorsing an income tax proposal, which delegate Clark Gruening
Clark Gruening
Clark S. Gruening is an attorney and Democratic Party politician from the U.S. state of Alaska. He is chiefly known as the second of three persons to defeat the incumbent holder of Alaska's Class 3 United States Senate seat in the primary election.Clark Gruening was born in San Francisco,...

 described as a "declaration of independence" from Murkowski. Several weeks after the conference, Hammond spoke before Commonwealth North
Commonwealth North
Commonwealth North is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Anchorage, Alaska. Founded in 1979, it is the oldest and largest public affairs forum in Alaska. Membership is open to everyone....

, proclaiming that he would spend $50,000 of his own money if necessary to campaign for his dividend and income tax plan.


Hammond lived at his homestead in Port Alsworth, Alaska
Port Alsworth, Alaska
Port Alsworth is a census-designated place in Lake and Peninsula Borough, Alaska, United States. The population was 104 at the 2000 census....

, on Lake Clark, until his death at age 83 on August 2, 2005. According to his wife, Bella, he died peacefully in his sleep.

External links

    • Hammond, pre-politics - Hammond standing by his airplane.
    • House of Representatives of the 1st Legislature - Hammond is third from left in the third row back.
    • Inauguration - Hammond speaking at his inauguration, 1974. Bella Hammond is to his left; Jay Rabinowitz
      Jay Rabinowitz
      Jay Andrew Rabinowitz was an American lawyer, jurist, and Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court four non-consecutive terms remaining active as a justice from February 1965 to February 1997.-Early life and career:Rabinowitz was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a Jewish-American family...

       is at right.
    • with Gerald Ford - Governor Hammond with U.S. President Gerald Ford
      Gerald Ford
      Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

      , U.S. Senator Ted Stevens
      Ted Stevens
      Theodore Fulton "Ted" Stevens, Sr. was a United States Senator from Alaska, serving from December 24, 1968, until January 3, 2009, and thus the longest-serving Republican senator in history...

       and U.S. Representative Don Young
      Don Young
      Donald Edwin "Don" Young is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1973. He is a member of the Republican Party.Young is the 6th most senior U.S. Representative and the 2nd most senior Republican Representative, as well as the 2nd most senior Republican in Congress as a whole...

       at Eielson Air Force Base
      Eielson Air Force Base
      Eielson Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska and just southeast of Moose Creek, Alaska....

      , November 29, 1975.
    • Good Morning America - Hammond being interviewed by David Hartman
      David Hartman (TV personality)
      David Downs Hartman is an American journalist and media host who began his media career as an actor. He currently anchors and hosts documentary programs on cable TV's History and on PBS. Hartman is best known as the first host of ABC's Good Morning America, from 1975 to 1987. As an actor, he...

       on Good Morning America
      Good Morning America
      Good Morning America is an American morning news and talk show that is broadcast on the ABC television network; it debuted on November 3, 1975. The weekday program airs for two hours; a third hour aired between 2007 and 2008 exclusively on ABC News Now...

    • with Chris Pearson - Hammond with Yukon
      Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

       premier Christopher Pearson
      Chris Pearson (politician)
      Christopher William Pearson was the first leader of the Yukon Progressive Conservative Party and the first Government Leader in the Yukon. Pearson moved to the Yukon in 1957 and worked for the government from 1960 until 1973 when he entered private business...

       at the Alaska-Yukon border in May 1981.
    • with George Parks - Hammond helps to celebrate the 99th birthday of George Alexander Parks
      George Alexander Parks
      George Alexander Parks was an American engineer who worked in Alaska Territory for most of his career. Following an unexpected nomination from President Calvin Coolidge, he became the territory's first resident governor...

       on May 29, 1982
    • Capital move press conference - Alaska's surviving governors (excepting Waino Hendrickson) gather for a press conference on the capital move ballot issue, July 1982.
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