Ben Stevens, former Alaska Senate president, dies at age 63

Oct 14, 2022, 1:08 PM | Updated: 6:36 pm
FILE - Then-Alaska State Senate President Ben Stevens, R Anchorage, talks during an interview on Ma...

FILE - Then-Alaska State Senate President Ben Stevens, R Anchorage, talks during an interview on May 25, 2005 at the State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. Ben Stevens, a former Alaska Senate president and a son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, died on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. He was 63. (AP Photo/David J. Sheakley, File)

(AP Photo/David J. Sheakley, File)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Ben Stevens, a former Alaska Senate president and a son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, has died. He was 63.

The Alaska State Troopers said they responded to a report Thursday evening of a hiker having a medical emergency on the Lost Lake Trail near Seward. The hiker was later identified as Stevens, the troopers said. The troopers’ statement said air ambulance services reached the scene around 6:40 p.m. and that lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.

Erec Isaacson, president of ConocoPhillips Alaska, where Stevens worked as vice president of external affairs and transportation, said in a statement Friday that the company was “deeply saddened by the sudden passing of our friend and colleague, Ben Stevens.”

Stevens joined the company in early 2021 after working as chief of staff to Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

“I will always cherish the time he was my Chief of Staff; his knowledge and political acumen were significant assets in my administration,” Dunleavy said on social media.

A message seeking comment was sent to the Ted Stevens Foundation. Ted Stevens, who died in 2010, was a Republican U.S. senator for Alaska for 40 years.

Ben Stevens, a Republican, was appointed to the state Senate in 2001. He was Senate president in 2005 and 2006 but did not seek reelection after that.

His office was among at least six state legislative offices raided by federal agents in 2006 as part of a corruption probe. Stevens was never charged with a crime. He denied any wrongdoing.

Former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, on social media said he had spent time twice this week with Stevens and that the news of his unexpected death was “surreal.”

Members of Alaska’s congressional delegation called Stevens a friend. U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, a Democrat whose time in the state Legislature overlapped with Stevens’, said Alaska has lost a “great leader who worked tirelessly for our entire state.”

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on social media said Stevens’ death “leaves a hole in our Alaskan fabric.” U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan said Stevens “always fought with Ted Stevens-like zeal for our state’s interests.”

Alaska Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich said there were times that he and Stevens agreed on policy and times that they sparred.

Stevens “was a bulldog, but when it came down to it, we always had the ability to work with one another to determine how best to move this great state forward. Ben helped shape Alaska as Chief of Staff to the Governor, as Senate President, as an activist and as an Alaskan,” Begich, an Anchorage Democrat, said in a statement.

State Senate President Peter Micciche, a Republican, said “politics and a fierce commitment to serving Alaska was in Ben’s blood.”

Stevens is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and their children.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

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Ben Stevens, former Alaska Senate president, dies at age 63