ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — Gov. Bill Walker on Tuesday named a FedEx international cargo pilot to the Wasilla Senate seat vacated in January by Michael Dunleavy.
The appointee, Mike “Dozer” Shower, is a retired officer in the Air Force who once flew fighter jets. He most recently served at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage in 2010 planning war exercises. A decade ago, according to his official resume, he was an F-22 squadron commander at Elmendorf, now Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
At Edwards Air Force Base in California from 2002 to 2005, he said, he was chief of the F-22 testing program and later demonstrated the F-22 at air shows around the country.
"I look forward to to speaking with Senate leadership and to the Senate's consideration of my appointment," Shower said in a prepared statement.
Shower’s name was on a supplemental list approved by Mat-Su Republicans and submitted to Walker last week by state Republican Party chairman Tuckerman Babcock. He was approved by Republicans living in House District 10, about half of the Senate district.
"I would like to express my gratitude to Republican leaders in District 10 for nominating me to serve the great people of Alaska in Senate District E,” he said. “I am also deeply honored by my appointment to that seat by Governor Walker.”
In a financial disclosure statement submitted to the Alaska Public Offices Commission last week, Shower said his full-time FedEx salary for flying MD-11 cargo jets was between $200,000 and $500,000 (only ranges have to be reported). He was also collecting a military pension of between $20,000 and $50,000 and had VA benefits of between $10,000 and $20,000.
He said he serves on the board and is an investor of the technology firm iNK, a social media company for job networking. He also described himself as a part-time employee of a military contractor in Anchorage, AK Supply. He didn't disclose any income from either company.
He said his wife held enough ExxonMobil stock to pay a dividend of $2,000 to $5,000, though the report shows she also sold ExxonMobil stock last year.
In an email Tuesday, Shower said his phone was ringing off the hook and he couldn't talk. A spokesman for Walker said Shower had agreed to take a leave of absence from FedEx for the duration of the legislative session.
In his personal life, Shower has maintained his aviation connections. He lives on Travelair Drive near Airstrip Road and his email address contains "f22."
He listed two children and a wife on his disclosure statement. One of the children was a dependent while the other was not.
Shower is Walker's third attempt at filling the seat. His first appointment, a businessman not appearing on the list from local Republicans, was rejected by Senate Republicans, who have the legal right of refusal. A second appointee, Tom Braund, had been on the Mat-Su Republican list, but withdrew after some of his controversial and violent social media posts surfaced.
Dunleavy quit the Senate to focus on his Republican campaign for governor. Alaska law requires Walker to find a replacement from among qualified Republicans in Dunleavy’s district within 30 days of the vacancy opening, or 10 days after the Senate rejects a candidate. By tradition, local party officials submit three names to Walker.
Walker urged Senate Republicans to confirm Shower.
“With this appointment, the people of Senate District E will get the full representation they deserve in the Legislature,” Walker said in a prepared statement.
In an emailed statement, Senate President Pete Kelly was noncommittal.
“We appreciate the governor’s prompt selection of Mr. Mike Shower from the candidate list provided by the Republicans of Senate District E,” Kelly said. “The Senate Republicans will meet soon to consider the appointment.”
One House seat remains vacant: the Bethel-area seat once occupied by Democratic Rep. Zach Fansler, who quit after the Juneau Empire reported he had slapped a woman in Juneau after a night of heavy drinking.
Democrats in Bethel on Monday submitted three possible replacements to Walker: Yvonne Jackson, Raymond “Thor” Williams and Tiffany Zulkosky.