Gov. Bill Walker hires political campaign consultant as special assistant
You may soon see a young face by Gov. Bill Walker’s side, starting at the end of this month. Walker is hiring political consultant and campaign strategist John-Henry Heckendorn as his special assistant.
The 26-year-old has worked in Alaska for five years and is the director of the political consulting firm Ship Creek Group. Heckendorn worked successfully to help several Democratic candidates reach state office during the November election, including Dean Westlake of Kotzebue, who won by a narrow margin to long-standing incumbent Benjamin Nageak in Barrow.
Now Walker wants Heckendorn on his team.
“I’ll be traveling with the governor quite a bit, is my understanding — to some of his meetings, and something of a body man role,” Heckendorn said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Heckendorn’s salary is still being negotiated, but Katie Marquette, a spokesperson for Walker, said it will fit within the current office budget.
In a statement Tuesday, Walker described Heckendorn as a talented young Alaskan.
“I admire his desire to better our state for future generations,” Walker said. “I have often said that it is important to include Alaskans of all political stripes and backgrounds in this administration. This also includes young Alaskans who bring a fresh perspective to the issues our state is facing.”
Heckendorn said he is “excited and nervous” about the new role.
“I’m really excited to be joining the team, especially a team that’s working on bipartisan, across the aisle type of initiatives,” he said. “That’s something I believe in and am excited to be contributing to.”
Heckendorn will be based in Anchorage, but will travel to and from Juneau with Walker during the legislative session, which starts Jan. 17.
Walker’s term ends in 2018, unless he runs and wins re-election that year.
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