John Katz resigns after 40 years as state’s top lobbyist

Alaska’s Director of State and Federal Relations in Washington, D.C. is resigning.

After more than 40 years as the lead advocate for the state, John Katz says it’s time to leave the nation’s capital.

Early in his career Katz worked for the late Senator Ted Stevens and in 1979 became the first special counsel to the governor, working on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

Since then he has worked for eight Alaska governors in Washington and received several awards for his service.

In a letter to Governor Sean Parnell, the 68-year-old Katz says he wants to spend more time in Alaska and with his family.

He also says he’s become increasingly discouraged by what he sees as the “polarization and deterioration of the public policy process at the federal level.”

Katz says it is the worst he has seen in his 43 years in Washington.

In statements from Alaska’s congressional delegation, all have high praise for him.

Senator Mark Begich calls Katz the true definition of a dedicated public servant, who has fought for Alaskans on every “hot button” issue. Begich says he will miss Katz calm demeanor.

Senator Lisa Murkowski says his resignation is a “shock to the system of Alaska.”

Murkowski says she cannot disagree with his frustration with the “paralysis and partisan hostility that has taken over Washington, DC.”

Murkowski says Katz lived a “bipartisan life” as he served governors from “across the political spectrum.”

Representative Don Young says Katz “never let ideology get in the way of his mission, which was to serve the state of Alaska.”

Katz resignation is effective at the end of the year. Parnell will choose his replacement.

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