Anchorage, AK – Rasmuson Foundation announces that long-time Alaska leader Mike Navarre has joined its Board of Directors.

Navarre replaces Linda Leary, who termed off the board. He is commissioner of the state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

He grew up in Kenai, Alaska, and was one of 11 children. His mother was born and raised in Douglas, Alaska, and an uncle, Jim Doogan, was a delegate to Alaska’s Constitutional Convention.

Mike Navarre
Mike Navarre

Navarre has a long history of leadership in Alaska, including six terms as a state representative in the Legislature. Among other legislative roles, he served as chairman of the House Finance Committee and House Majority leader. He served as the Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor for three terms including from 2011 to 2017, when he was appointed as commissioner.

Over the years, Navarre has been a fierce advocate for Alaska causes and nonprofits and has given his time to improving life in Alaska. He is an active member of the board for Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula, an organization he has served more than 20 years, as well as the board of Kenai Peninsula Youth Foundation. He is vice president of the Arctic Power board, an organization seeking to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration.

“I am passionate by nature and it carries over to the things in which I get involved,” Navarre said. State fiscal policy and health care issues are among his current causes.

As commissioner, he sits on a number of other boards including that of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. He also serves on Gov. Bill Walker’s Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team and the Alaska Mariculture Task Force, which is trying to boost farming of shellfish and seaweed.

“I hope to bring my perspective and experience to the board, including knowledge of Kenai Peninsula communities,” Navarre said. “More importantly, I hope to learn from other board members.”

Navarre has more than 30 years of business experience in restaurants and retail operations around Alaska. He holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Eastern Washington University.

Navarre splits his time between Juneau and the Kenai Peninsula, where he has lived since age 1.

The Board welcomes its newest member.

For more information, contact communications manager Lisa Demer at or 907.334.0529.

About the Foundation
Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband “E.A.” Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.