"Karen's deep Alaska roots, professional background and her inherent commitment to public service throughout her life, will provide Alaskans with strong leadership in this important position and during this crucial time," Palin said.
"She arrives with a lot on her plate, including a legislative session just days away. I've asked Karen to place her priorities on how we can reduce spending and create efficiencies."
Rehfeld most recently served Alaskans as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Education & Early Development. Her public service spans the course of more than two decades, with focus throughout her tenure on policy development, managing state funding programs, and developing annual appropriations legislation, including analysis of operating and capital budgets.
"I am honored that the governor has appointed me to her cabinet," Rehfeld said.
"This is an exciting time for the state and I have been given a tremendous opportunity to work for the people of Alaska and help fiscally manage the state as efficiently as possible."
Earlier in her career, Rehfeld served in the Office of the Governor before becoming Firm Administrator for Elgee & Rehfeld, Certified Public Accountants. Rehfeld then served the state for six years as a fiscal analyst in the Legislative Finance Division before moving into Education Support and the Department of Education & Early Development. Rehfeld is a graduate of the University of Idaho and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science.
Rehfeld comes from a family of public servants. Her father, Bob Ward, served Alaska as Commissioner of Administration under Governor Hickel and Secretary of State when Governor Hickel left to become Secretary of the Interior.
The Secretary of State position later became Lieutenant Governor. Ward also served as Commissioner of Transportation under Governor Hammond. Ward died in 1997.