Grand dame of Alaska politics passes

Photo by Margaret Bauman/for The Cordova Times

Katie Hurley, who served as chief clerk of the Alaska Constitutional Convention in the 1950s, and became known as the grand dame of Alaska politics, passed away on Sunday, Feb. 21, in Portland, Ore. At the request of the Hurley family, Gov. Mike Dunleavy has ordered that U.S. and Alaska flags fly at half-staff on Tuesday, March 30, in honor of what would have been Hurley’s 100th birthday. Born in Juneau on March 30, 1921 to Norwegian immigrants, Hurley went on to serve in many roles, including secretary to Alaska Territorial Gov. Ernest Gruening from 1944 -1953, on Gov. Bill Egan’s statehood transitional staff, and as a Democratic legislator representing the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. In 2009 she was inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame. On Aug. 10, 2010, Hurley met with author Joe McGinnis in Palmer, during his visit to Alaska to research the book “The Rogue: Searching for the real Sarah Palin.”