July 21st Now 'Jay Hammond Day'

     Thanks to a bill sponsored by Homer Representative Paul Seaton, Alaska has new holiday. Beginning this year, Jay Hammond Day will be celebrated on July 21st.

     Governor Sean Parnell signed the Jay Hammond Day bill into law Wednesday. It establishes July 21st of every year as a holiday to honor the former governor.

     The bill’s sponsor was Homer Representative Paul Seaton. Seaton says he’s glad Parnell and his colleagues in the legislature were supportive of the idea. He says his bill was brought to him by a local resident in Homer.

     Jay Hammond was born July 21st, 1922 in Troy, New York. He served as Alaska’s governor from 1974 to 1982, a time when the state was constructing its most ambitious project ever – the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. He is widely known as the father of the Alaska Permanent Fund, the program that invests state oil royalties and pays an annual dividend to Alaskans.

     Parnell signed two other bills into law Wednesday. One names the state-owned airport in Kodiak the Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport, in honor of the then-13-year-old student who designed the Alaska state flag.

     The other designates a portion of Minnesota Drive and O’Malley Road in Anchorage as the Walter J. Hickel Parkway, in honor of former two-time governor and U.S Interior Secretary Walter Hickel.