A bill in the Alaska House would establish a day to honor the late-Governor Jay Hammond. House Bill 130 would designate July 21st of each year as “Jay Hammond Day.” The bill had its first full hearing Wednesday and is making its way through the legislative process. It was introduced this year by Homer Representative Paul Seaton.
Seaton says his bill would expand on a recent proclamation by Governor Sean Parnell establishing a single “Jay Hammond Day” on July 21st. He says his bill was brought to him by a local resident in Homer. He says he believes it has broad bipartisan support, as evidenced by the coalition of legislators who have signed on as co-sponsors, including Democrats like Bryce Edgmon and Beth Kerttula and Republicans Alan Austerman and Cathy Munoz.
Hammond 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.
A recent book authored by Hammond was published in Homer. Homer resident Larry Smith, a friend of the Hammond family, helped to get the book into print and into libraries across Alaska. “Diapering the Devil” centers on oil politics and the concept of the Alaska Permanent Fund. The last chapter talks about the Permanent Fund model as a possible solution for distributing oil wealth in Iraq.
Hammond was working on the book up until Aug 2nd, 2005 – the day he died.
Seaton’s bill was read in the full House Wednesday and has been referred to the House State Affairs Committee. In the past, the legislature has set aside days to honor other prominent Alaskans. In 2011, it designated the fourth Saturday of every July as Ted Stevens Day.