Peltola, 1st Alaska Native in Congress, wins full term

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US Representative Mary Peltola was elected to a full term in the House, months after the Democrat from Alaska won a special election for the seat following the death earlier this year of longtime Republican Representative Don Young .

Peltola defeated Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, as well as Libertarian Chris Bye in the Nov. 8 election. The results of the ranked picks election were announced on Wednesday. Palin and Begich were also candidates in the special election.

“It’s a two-year deal,” Peltola told the Anchorage Daily News after news of her win – a 55% to 45% margin over Palin in the final round of tabulation. “I’ll be happy to work for the Alaskans again, as long as they have me.”

Peltola, who is Yup’ik, with her victory in August became the first Alaska Native to sit in Congress and the first woman to hold the Alaska House seat. The win also boosted her fundraising, surpassing that of her rivals ahead of this month’s election.

Messages were sent to Palin’s campaign on Wednesday.

Begich praised Peltola in a statement, adding, “Our nation faces a number of challenges in the years ahead, and our representatives will need wisdom and discernment as they work to put America on a path My message to Alaskans is to keep involved and engaged.

Peltola embraced Young’s legacy as she sought the two-year term and was endorsed by her daughters, one of whom presented her with a bolo tie from Young at a Native American Federation conference. Alaska where Peltola was treated like a rock star. Young held the seat for 49 years.

“Now I’m a real congressman for all of Alaska,” she said. Young often referred to himself this way. Peltola described his legacy as one of bipartisanship and building support for Alaskan interests in Congress.

Peltola served as state legislator in the small rural community of Bethel for 10 years, ending in 2009. She surprised many with her fourth-place finish in June’s special primary, in which she emerged from a group of 48 candidates which included current state and local elected officials. This finish was enough to send him to the special election.

During the campaign, she presented herself as a coalition builder, stressed a desire for more civility in politics, and sought to stay away from sniping between Palin and Begich. Peltola, who recently worked for a commission whose goal is to restore salmon in Alaska’s Kuskokwim River, raised concerns about ocean productivity and the need to preserve struggling fisheries.

She also underlined her support for the right to abortion.

During a speech in October, she spoke of the need for unity and lamented what she said has become a pervasive message in politics “about hate, fear and self-pity”. And yes, these resonate, they are compelling motivators. But they are destructive, they are acidic, they destroy us.

She said her priorities for the new term include committee assignments and “working very hard to reduce our inflation rates, our shipping costs, reduce costs for working families and all Alaskan households.” “.

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Associated Press writer Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Alaska contributed to this report.

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