Alaskans - Business Leaders
Question has been asked as to whether Alaska can support statehood. I do not know the exact cost but I am prepared to pay my share and am confident that the budget is within our means. I find it difficult to write up a price tag on freedom.
- Elmer E. Rasmuson - President, National Bank of Alaska and one of the leading advocates for statehood in the Alaska business community
Alaska Business Leaders Who Campaigned for Statehood
Robert B. Atwood
Chairman, Alaska Statehood Committee
Publisher, Anchorage Daily Times
- Publisher of the Anchorage Daily Times, the most prominent pro-statehood newspaper in Alaska.
- Arranged and travelled with the "Statehood Flight" to Washington D.C., where he personally lobbied President Eisenhower to support statehood for Alaska.
- Unsuccessful candidate for "Alaska-Tennessee Plan" Congressional Delegation.
Name Robert B. Atwood
Occupation Newspaper Owner and Publisher Born March 31, 1907 - Chicago, Illinois Died January 10, 1997 - Anchorage, Alaska Alaska Resident 1933-1997 Honors
- "Alaskan of the Year" - 1967
- Director, National Municipal League - 1969
- Norweigian Consul - 1959
President, Alaska Coastal Ellis Airlines
Mayor, City of Ketchikan (1946-48)
Territorial Senate (1955-59)
- Travelled to Washington D.C. to testify before Congress in favor of Alaska Statehood
- Pro-statehood candidate for local and territorial office
Quote on Statehood:
Development (in Alaska) is inevitable, but I think it will be more rapid and sensible if we have statehood, because almost everything of importance to Alaska has to be settled in Washington D.C. We can settle those things in Alaska in a matter of days that take months and sometimes years in Washington.
-Bob Ellis, President of Ellis Airlines to the members of the House Committee on Territorial and Insular Affairs - April 15, 1953. Ellis was speaking of the necessity, under Territorial Government, for decisions regarding Alaska to be made by Congress. This included review of all Territorial legislation passed by the Territorial Legislature and many municipal projects and bonds.
Name Robert Edmund Ellis
Occupation Aviator and Airline Owner
Born January 2, 1903 - St. Albans, Vermont
Died May 8, 1994 - Ketchikan, Alaska
Alaska Resident 1929-94
- Board of Directors, Alaska Airlines
Walter J. Hickel
Republican National Committeeman (1954-64)
Governor, State of Alaska (1966-69, 1990-94)
US Secretary of the Interior (1969-70)
- Travelled to Washington D.C. on "Statehood Flight" to advocate for statehood.
- Met with President Eisenhower and Speaker Sam Rayburn
- Responsible for gaining national Republican support for Alaska Statehood
- Strong advocate for increasing the size of Alaska's statehood land grant
Name Walter Joseph Hickel
Occupation Businessman and Hotel Owner
Born August 18, 1919 - Ellinwood, Kansas
Alaska Resident 1940-Present
- "Alaskan of the Year" - 1969
- "Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure" from His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Japan (1988)
- Secretary General, Northern Forum
Member, Alaska Statehood Committee
Member, University of Alaska Board of Trustees (1929-56)
Mayor, City of Fairbanks (1915)
- Sat on Statehood Committee from 1949-56
- Passed away on February 6, 1956 - the day the Alaska Constitutional Convention adjourned. His son, Leslie Nerland, had been a delegate. Leslie presented his father with a copy of the constitution shortly before he passed away.
Name Andrew Nerland
Born April 18, 1870 - Molda, Norway
Died February 6, 1956 - Fairbanks
Alaska Resident 1904-56
- Andrew Nerland Residence Hall at UAF named in his honor
- Honorary Doctorate of Laws - University of Alaska 1952
Elmer E. Rasmuson
Mayor, City of Anchorage (1964-67)
UA Board of Regents (1950-69)
Chairman, Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation
- Testified before Congress in favor of Alaska Statehood.
- Prominent promoter of statehood in Alaska business community.
Name Elmer Edwin Rasmuson
Born February 15, 1909 - Yakutat
Alaska Resident Lifelong
- UAF Library named in his honor
- Knighted by King of Sweden (1967)
- Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
- Outstanding Citizen - Alaska Press Club
- Silver Beaver Award - Boy Scouts of America
- "Outstanding Alaskan" - Alaska State Chamber of Commerce (1974)
Quotes on Statehood:
Statehood means equality as an American citizen. This is a very precious right which fortunately most Americans can assume to be their own from birth. I cannot, nor can my children.
Question has been raised as to whether Alaska can support statehood. I do not know the exact cost, but I am prepared to pay my share and am confident that the budget is within our means. I find it difficult to write up a price tag on freedom.
-from Elmer Rasmuson's letter to Senator Joseph O'Mahoney, dated April 22, 1950