Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s chief of staff resigns to become executive at ConocoPhillips

Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner John MacKinnon, Gov. Mike Dunleavy's Chief of Staff Ben Stevens, and Senior Policy Advisor Brett Huber watch a press conference unveiling Dunleavy's budget proposal on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at the Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner John MacKinnon, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Chief of Staff Ben Stevens, and Senior Policy Advisor Brett Huber watch a press conference unveiling Dunleavy’s budget proposal on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at the Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Ben Stevens, the former Alaska state senator who became chief of staff to Alaska GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy, is leaving that job, Dunleavy’s office announced Wednesday.

Stevens will become the new vice president of external affairs and transportation at ConocoPhillips Alaska, Dunleavy’s office said in a statement.

“I want to thank Ben for his hard work and service to the state of Alaska the past two years. His knowledge and political acumen have been an asset to the administration and I wish him the very best in his new role at ConocoPhillips Alaska,” Dunleavy was quoted as saying.

Randy Ruaro, who currently serves as deputy chief of staff to Dunleavy, will fill Stevens’ job until a permanent replacement is named.

Dunleavy appointed Stevens chief of staff in the summer of 2019, as the governor faced a recall campaign with accumulating momentum and had just finished a bruising first legislative session.

Dunleavy originally hired Stevens as a policy advisor after his election in 2018. Stevens, the youngest of three sons of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, had been away from politics for a decade at that point, after his office was raided by the FBI in a 2006 corruption investigation of the Alaska Legislature.

Ben Stevens, who was Senate president at the time, was never charged with a crime and has always maintained his innocence.

Alaska Public Media

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