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Former Prominent GOP Lawmaker Dies During Hike After Medical Emergency: Report

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former Republican president of the Alaska Senate Ben Stevens has died after collapsing during a hike with his wife.

Alaska State Troopers said in a news release that Stevens was hiking on a trail in the Chugach National Forest.

“Alaska State Troopers responded to a report of a hiker having a medical emergency with CPR in progress on the Lost Lake Trail in the Chugach National Forest outside of Seward. The hiker was later identified as Ben Stevens, age 63 of Anchorage. Coordinates were obtained and Lifemed was requested to respond. Alaska State Troopers and U.S. Forest Service officers responded to the trailhead. Lifemed reached the scene at 6:41 pm. and lifesaving measures were unsuccessful. Stevens body was transported by Lifemed to Anchorage. Next of kin has been notified,” the release said from the Alaska State Troopers.

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LifeMed rescuers arrived at the scene and were unable to revive Stevens. The press release states that Steven’s body was transported to Anchorage.

Stevens was a prominent Republican. His father, Ted Stevens, was a Republican who represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate from 1968 to 2009 before dying in a plane crash in 2010. Ben Stevens was appointed to the Alaska state Senate in 2001 and served as its president in 2005 and 2006.

In 2018, he took a position as chief of staff for Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. In 2021, Stevens joined ConocoPhillips Alaska, where he served as the vice president of external affairs and transportation.

Upon news of his death, many took to social media to praise Stevens and offer their condolences to the family.

In a Facebook post, the Anchorage Republican Women wrote: “ARWC received some very sad news this morning. Our good friend Ben Stevens just died of a heart attack. His wife, Elizabeth, and Ben were hiking when Ben collapsed. That is all we know now but will keep you posted! Our sympathy goes out to his family.”

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski tweeted that Stevens’ death “leaves a hole in our Alaskan fabric.”

Sen. Dan Sullivan tweeted that he was “shocked and heartbroken” to learn of Stevens’ death, adding, “Ben was a true public servant who loved Alaska and always fought with Ted Stevens-like zeal for our state’s interests.”

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Alaska Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, a Democrat, released a statement noting that even though he had disagreements with Stevens, they also agreed on other important issues.

“Stevens was a bulldog, but when it came down to it, we always had the ability to work with one another to determine how best to move this great state forward. Ben helped shape Alaska as Chief of Staff to the Governor, as Senate President, as an activist, and as an Alaskan,” Begich said in a statement.

State Senate President Peter Micciche, a Republican, said “politics and a fierce commitment to serving Alaska was in Ben’s blood.”

The Ted Stevens Foundation shared similar sentiments.

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“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Ben Stevens, the Senator’s youngest son,” the foundation posted Monday on Facebook. “A leader in our state, Ben leaves a lasting legacy as a businessman, commercial fisherman, political leader, and executive.

“Most importantly, he was a devoted and loving husband and father, often found at the hockey rink or on the shores of the Naknek River. As we mourn the loss of Ben, we are grateful for the outpouring of support.”

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Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy also posted his condolences on Facebook.

“Ben Stevens was a good friend of mine. I will always cherish the time he was my Chief of Staff; his knowledge and political acumen were significant assets in my administration. He dedicated his life to making Alaska a better place,” the Alaska governor said. “Everyone will remember Ben’s continued commitment to our great state.

“Rose and I offer our prayers to Ben’s wife, Elizabeth, and the kids during this difficult time.”

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