- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - There were major changes to Gov. Bill Walker’s cabinet on Thursday, with announcements that the attorney general and the acting Natural Resources Commissioner were leaving their posts.

Walker also appointed a new natural resources Commissioner. No replacement was named for attorney general.

All the changes were announced in statements from the governor’s office.

Attorney General Craig Richards, 41, cited personal reasons for his resignation.

“I feel I need to re-focus on my family, which is impractical given the travel and workload requirements of the job,” he said in the statement.

“With great reluctance, I have accepted Craig’s resignation,” Walker said in the statement.

“When I appointed Craig in December 2014 as Attorney General, I knew Alaskans would benefit from his deep respect for the law and his vast knowledge of finance. As the state’s top attorney, work has pulled him away from his 3-year-old son, and I am grateful for the sacrifices he and his family have made in service to Alaska,” Walker said.

Richards was not asked to resign, Walker spokeswoman Katie Marquette said in an email to The Associated Press.

Walker has appointed deputy Attorney General Jim Cantor to lead the Department of Law until Walker appoints a new attorney general.

Marquette said the governor will fill the position as soon as possible.

Later Thursday, Walker picked Andy Mack, an attorney with oil and gas experience, as his new commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. Mack replaces Mark Myers, who retired in February.

Mack is a managing director of Pt Capital, a private equity fund.

He was born and raised in Soldotna and is an adviser to Alaska Native corporations involved with North Slope oil and gas activity.

Mack worked as a civil and criminal defense attorney for five years and as a legislative assistant for more than 10 years.

Marty Rutherford has been working as acting commissioner. The governor’s office announced she is retiring June 30 after 27 years with the state, but also on Thursday named her a trustee on the Permanent Fund Corp. board.

Richards is Walker’s former law partner and was the governor’s first choice for attorney general.

Richards’ legal experience includes areas of oil and gas and taxation. He was involved in long-running litigation by municipalities over the assessment of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline system.

“Given Craig’s knowledge of gas line issues, I’m certain the state will continue to benefit from his oil and gas expertise as we push toward completion of a project,” Walker said Thursday in the statement.

The governor’s spokeswoman declined to clarify that statement or elaborate whether Richards might have a future role in the administration.

“We do not have any further comment beyond what is in the press release,” Marquette said.

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