Mike Dunleavy

 

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has removed Fairbanks' Jon Cook as chairman of the Alaska Railroad Corp. board of directors. Cook is a known supporter of the quickly growing effort to recall the governor.

Cook, who was removed from the position Monday, acts as the chief financial officer for Airport Equipment Rentals, a Fairbanks based company that hosted a recall petition for some time this month.

Tim Sullivan, spokesman for the Alaska Railroad, confirmed Wednesday that Cook no longer holds a position on the board. Sullivan also said former Gov. Bill Sheffield, who previously served as the board's vice chairman, will serve as interim chair until a replacement is named.

Sullivan directed all further questions to the governor's office.

Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow posted a statement to social media Wednesday afternoon defending the dismissal on the basis of "differing views" between Cook and the governor.

"Like many other boards and commissions, the Alaska Railroad Board of Directors serves at the pleasure of the governor," Shuckerow posted. "Governor Dunleavy says he and Mr. Cook share differing views and would like to realign the Alaska Railroad Board."

Shuckerow did not provide specific information on a replacement for the position but noted that the governor hopes to fill the seat with an "individual associated with real estate and land development," adding that a replacement would be likely named before the board's September meeting.

Cook's seat was set to expire in October. Board members typically serve a term of five years.

Cook declined to comment on the matter.

In the 2018 election, Cook donated $1,000 to former Gov. Bill Walker's reelection campaign. After Walker dropped from the race, Cook donated $500 to Dunleavy's campaign, according to Alaska Public Offices Commission records.

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.

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