Alaska senator dies at 75

Dennis Egan, an influential figure in Alaska politics who served as a state senator and mayor of the state’s capital, died Tuesday, The Associated Press reports.

He was 75.

The death was announced by the Alaska Senate Democrats in a statement.

Egan, a former mayor of Juneau, was initially appointed to the state Senate in 2009 and held his seat until 2019.

He quit over health concerns, announcing before the 2018 election that he would not be running.

In addition to his work in politics, Egan was known for his work in radio, hosting a program for Juneau’s KINY.

Because of his broadcast history, Egan’s Senate bio notes that he “may be the only Alaska politician who has as many voters recognize his voice as his name.”

He was a 2001 inductee into the Alaskan Broadcaster Association’s Hall of Fame.

He was also the son of the state’s first governor, Bill Egan. He spent some time growing up in Washington, D.C., while his father lobbied for Alaska statehood — something which was granted in 1959.

When Alaska was granted statehood, an 11–year-old Egan appeared on the then-popular game show “I’ve Got a Secret.”

As mayor of Juneau, Egan helped mediate disputes with Native American groups, keep U.S. Forest Service jobs in the city and helped upgrade the airport and police station.

The man who replaced Egan in the Senate, state Sen. Jesse Kiehl, said Egan was “larger than life.”

“I once watched him tell a lobbyist there was no way he’d ever vote for a bill, and the guy still left with a smile on his face,” a statement from Kiehl read.

”Dennis always listened to his community, was a straight shooter and truly respected the people around him. Alaska was his home, he put Alaskans first, and his heart belonged to Juneau.”

Egan leaves behind a wife and two daughters.