STEVE COWPER was born in Petersburg, Virginia, and grew up in Kinston, North Carolina. He received a bachelor's and law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and Army Reserve, he spent three years as a maritime lawyer in Norfolk, Virginia. He moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1968 and worked as assistant district attorney for rural Alaska and Fairbanks. In 1970, he went to Vietnam as a freelance correspondent and traveled throughout Asia. Upon his return, he bacame a partner in an air taxi and cargo business, authored a political column for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, taught a college course on Alaska lands, and was a diver for a University of Alaska marine research team. He was elected to the Alaskan House of Representatives in 1974 and served two terms. He served as governor from 1986 to 1990.