Mary Peltola Sworn In

Historic Day As First Native American Sworn In To Represent Alaska In U.S. Congress  Mary Peltola, of Bethel, has become the first woman (an...

Historic Day As First Native American Sworn In To Represent Alaska In U.S. Congress 

Mary Peltola, of Bethel, has become the first woman (and first Native American) to win a spot in the U.S. House of Representatives for Alaska. 

Mary Peltola from her Facebook site. 

She takes over Don Young's seat, and will run again for the seat a few months from now. 

The former tribal court judge was a member of the Alaska State House of Representatives. In August, she beat former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and another Republican, Nick Begich, in Alaska's first "rank voting" election. Peltola had been considered a long shot. 

Mary Peltola has a solid grounding in Alaska's higher education system. She took courses in all three major Alaskan universities: UAA, UAF and the University of Southeast. 

In addition to being a woman and Yup'ik, Mary Peltola is also a Democrat.  Don Young, who famously served as the self-proclaimed "Congressman For All Alaska" for 49 years, was a Republican. 

But Peltola makes a point of saying that her family knew Don Young well; her dad stumped for Don Young, She said that Young "was a true institution, an Alaskan icon; someone who fought so hard and so well for our state." She has hired some of Don Young’s former staff to help her navigate the complexities of Washington DC. 

Following in the tradition of Hawaiian legislators who enjoy wearing Hawaiian leis and other signs of unique indigenous culture at major events, Mary Peltola wore tall sealskin Yup'ik mukluks and ivory jewelry at her swearing-in ceremony.

There will be another election in November, when she will again face Sarah Palin and Nick Begich in a bid to retain the seat. 

At her swearing-in, Mary Peltola was warmly welcomed by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans. 

She talked fondly of Don Young, and added: "To be clear I am here to represent all Alaskans." 

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