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Fauske, former state gas line and housing chief, dies

April 15th 1:41 am | Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Dispatch News Print this article   Email this article  

Dan Fauske, a skilled bureaucrat who forged alliances with Alaska political leaders as head of the state housing finance and gas pipeline agencies, died Wednesday at age 66.

Fauske, the former head of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. and the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., died at about 10:30 a.m. surrounded by family, said one of his three sons, D.J. Fauske.

A former smoker, he had been diagnosed with lung cancer in August after resigning from his job with the gas line corporation in late 2015.

With Fauske ailing, state lawmakers had rushed to approve legislation to dedicate AHFC's Anchorage headquarters in his name. The bill passed last week and Gov. Bill Walker was set to sign it Saturday morning at the newly branded Daniel R. Fauske Building.

The ceremony will take place as scheduled, D.J. Fauske said.

In his two decades in state government, Fauske built a reputation as a financial fixer with a disarming sense of humor, and his popularity was reflected by an outpouring of support in the hours after his death Wednesday. Calls came in from Walker, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, U.S. Rep. Don Young and former mayors and governors, D.J. Fauske said.

"The outpouring of support and love and prayer has been amazing," he said.

House Bill 143, the legislation naming the AHFC building, was co-sponsored by more than half the members of both the state House and Senate.

Nikiski Republican Rep. Mike Chenault — the former House speaker and the sponsor of HB 143 — issued a statement Wednesday lamenting the "passing of Superman."

"Dan Fauske leaped tall buildings in a single bound," the statement quoted Chenault as saying. "He grew​ the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. into what it is today after it was on the brink of closure."

Fauske came to Alaska in 1974 after serving in the U.S. Army. That same year, he moved to Barrow, where an older brother was working as a teacher, and opened a water delivery business.

In 1985, the North Slope Borough hired him as chief financial and chief administrative officer. He worked for the borough until he was hired by AHFC in 1993.

 

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