Alaska state commerce commissioner Chris Hladick has been chosen to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office based in Seattle.
Hladick will join the agency in December, the EPA said Tuesday.
Hladick will leave his state role Nov. 1, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said. Mike Navarre, the outgoing mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, will succeed Hladick at the state commerce department.
Hladick previously held city manager roles in several Alaska communities, including Unalaska and Dillingham.
In joining the EPA, Hladick will oversee a region that includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and about 270 tribes.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a release said Hladick’s passion for helping others, experience in managing government departments and familiarity with regional issues make him a “perfect fit” for the new job.
His pick won praise from Alaska’s Republican congressional delegation.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Hladick knows the issues communities face when dealing with the EPA. Rep. Don Young said Hladick can begin rebuilding a level of trust and confidence in the EPA that Young says eroded under the Obama administration.
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan said Alaska’s delegation had been “relentlessly pushing” to have an Alaskan serve as the regional administrator. He said Pruitt worked with the delegation to find a well-qualified candidate.