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Campbell Gets Nod to Head Alaska Fish and Game
R.A. Dillon / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / May 6, 2005

The Legislature on Thursday confirmed McKie Campbell as commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game.

Campbell already has been on the job for a month following his appointment by Gov. Frank Murkowski.

Subsistence and the challenges of working with his federal counterparts at the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife in managing the state's fisheries are the main issues facing Campbell as commissioner.

Every member of the Interior delegation voted to confirm Campbell except Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Fairbanks. Kelly was unavailable for comment.

"He's all right for a Republican," Democrat Sen. Albert Kookesh said in a phone interview from his Juneau office. "He's one of the best guys the governor could have picked."

Kookesh said he looked forward to working with Campbell in finding a resolution to the dispute between dip-netters and the Ahtna and Chitina Native corporations over access to a popular Copper River dip-netting site.

Campbell is scheduled to meet with representatives from the two Native corporations Monday to discuss a possible compromise, which Campbell said would benefit both sides.

"I really want to work on reaching out to all users," Campbell said. "It's important to make sure all the user groups feel they have a voice in the process."

A former deputy commissioner of Fish and Game, Campbell, 54, also served as deputy chief of staff for Gov. Walter Hickel and as a special assistant to the commissioner of Fish and Game. Campbell also spent nine years in the state Senate as a legislative committee staffer. Since 1995, he has served as a natural resource consultant, developing environmental studies for the mining industry, including Pogo, Greens Creek and the A-J mines.

Campbell replaces former commissioner Kevin Duffy, who resigned in December.

The commissioner of Fish and Game is responsible for the protection, management, conservation and restoration of the state's fish and game resources. Campbell will earn $91,000 a year in the position.

As he takes over the post, Campbell's official job description will likely grow. The Senate recently voted 19-1 to give the commissioner the added responsibility "to promote fishing, hunting and trapping and preserve the heritage" of those activities.

Fish and Game officials said the addition of the language isn't expected to result in many practical changes to the position, though it could free Campbell to publicly take a stance on ballot initiatives involving wildlife issues.

The Legislature also confirmed on Thursday the appointment of David W. Marquez as attorney general and Kurt Fredriksson as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Staff writer R.A. Dillon can be reached at 459-7503 or rdillon@newsminer.com .

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