Of all of the amazing things that have happened over the last few weeks, nothing has been as great as being able to share this day in D.C. with my family. I couldn’t have gotten this far without them?? pic.twitter.com/ecP0VlM3vs
— Mary Peltola (@MaryPeltola) September 14, 2022
Good things still happen, too, as a piece in the Washington Post‘s ‘Lifestyle’ section just reminded me. “What good is 16 weeks in Congress? Mary Peltola is about to show us”:
She launched into her new life about noon Friday last week, flying from western Alaska to Anchorage, where she hopped on another plane around 3 a.m. Saturday, then hustled through the Seattle airport for her connecting flight to D.C., and a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives — a thrilling prospect that may, in fact, be quite temporary.
On Monday she did an MSNBC hit, during which the host compared her to both Barack and Michelle Obama, then swore her oath of office around 6:41 p.m. Tuesday on the floor of the House while wearing the traditional fur-lined footwear of the Yup’ik people. Within the hour she cast her first three votes as a congresswoman, then shepherded her four children and three stepchildren and two grandchildren to a jubilant reception hosted by Alaska Native organizations and headlined by Nancy Pelosi — all while running, on the side, yet another campaign: to retain the office she was just elected to (Alaska’s sole seat in the House) past the Jan. 3 expiration of her new, current, abbreviated term…
Her nameplate was up outside her new office, Rayburn 2314, the expansive former lair of her legendary predecessor, the late Don Young (R), who was as ornery as she is gentle. The masts by the office door were still awaiting flags. The waiting room was empty except for a box of Dunkin’ Donuts, two apples on a paper plate, and a fresh visitors log that already had the names of six constituents — one of whom had scrawled “YAY!!!!”, presumably in celebration of Peltola’s historic election.
“I am feeling all of the cloud nine emotions,” said Peltola, 49, posture perfect in a green leather chair. The soaring office walls, stripped of Young’s bumptious archaeology (including his vertical herd of taxidermy), had been repainted in the dull buttercream of Capitol Hill bureaucracy.
“And I know that this isn’t a permanent state. Nothing is. Everything is temporary.”…
Her election alone is a major accomplishment in the eyes of Democrats, indigenous Americans, many Alaskans and even some Republicans. Peltola is the first woman to represent Alaska in the House and the first Alaska Native to represent the state in either chamber of Congress. She’s also the first Democrat in the seat since the Nixon administration.
“It’s going to be impossible for me to get through this without crying,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a tribal member of the Pueblo of Laguna, at a Tuesday reception for Peltola in a ballroom of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco.
“I’ve known Mary for a long time,” said Lisa Murkowski, one of Alaska’s two Republican senators, as she walked into the ballroom. “She and I served in the statehouse together. I know the character of the woman. She’s tough. She’s got grit. I feel very proud today.”
“Mary looks like us,” said Republican Tara Sweeney, an Alaska Native who also ran for the House seat, on the phone from Anchorage a few hours before Peltola took the oath. “She understands what it’s like to be in communities with no law enforcement, to have to pack water, to being stormbound in remote communities where you’re guests at the school or the church. She understands those challenges of growing up in rural Alaska.”
Peltola was raised on the Kuskokwim River near Bethel, a 70-minute flight west of Anchorage, by a Nebraskan father and a Yup’ik mother, whose people have fished the area for 12,000 years. At 6 years old, Peltola began catching salmon commercially with her dad. In her mid-20s, after working for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Peltola won a seat in the statehouse in Juneau, where she earned a reputation as an independent thinker and a collaborative doer. After 10 years in the statehouse, Peltola focused on the Kuskokwim, helping to manage a nearby gold-mining project and advocating for imperiled salmon runs, which are the region’s economic arteries…
“We’ve been here as indigenous people — we predate the government, any law, any congress,” said Denae Benson, 26, a junior Hill staffer who approached Peltola for a photo. “Yet now, in 2022, this is the first time an Alaska Native is representing people in the body that governs them? It’s surreal that it’s taken so long, but it feeds into the hope that the country is changing and growing.”
There’s a great short video at Peltola’s local paper, the Anchorage Daily News, taken on the night she got the good news.
We’re going to make Alaska’s seat in the House pro-choice, pro-worker, pro-fish, and pro-family — and preserve what makes Alaska the home we all love.
— Mary Peltola (@MaryPeltola) August 20, 2022
Lisa Murkowski continues to be an extremely high VORP (Value Over Replacement Politician) senator https://t.co/DfK0nkXhO5
— chatham harrison is tending his garden (@chathamharrison) September 1, 2022
Big dreams for a big state…
We need like 15,000 new federal jobs requiring graduate degrees in Alaska and it's a swing state. https://t.co/9edt7OePDA
— Leonid Baezhnev 🔥 (@rev_avocado) August 27, 2022
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
Awesome. I sure hope she gets to stay in that office for a long time to come!
Mike in NC
Hopefully the world has heard the last of Sarah Palin.
If she can win again in November, no reason she can’t stay there a long time.
And about time.
Her biggest problem with re-election would be if one of the two Republican candidates puts party before ego and drops out.
Did I say “problem”? I meant “advantage”.
@Mike in NC:
From your mouth to god’s ears.
Alison Rose 💙🌻💛
@Danielx: Was scrolling down to type this myself. Sadly, I don’t think that woman will ever STFU until God does it for her.
@Mike in NC: Hopefully, after Nov 8, we’ll never hear the name Palin, again! She, and the other republican are on the ballot, again.
Well, she just lost the vegan vote with that pro-fish statement. Unless she means they won’t be eaten now?
Seriously, it is great to hear pro-choice and pro-family linked on the same platform. I am sure other Dems make a similar case, but this seems short and sweet.
What a wonderful post to help wind down the day. Lovely.
Good luck to Rep. Peltola!
Meh to this, though. Put the horse before the cart—tell us why Alaska needs doing by people in those jobs.
@topclimber: Gotta respect a vegan in Alaska. Five sixths of the year it’s really hard to get fresh vegetables.
A key part of the PNW identity, for pretty much everybody, is salmon, fishing for, eating or even just watching the runs come in, plus how they are the engine of everything, a nutrient pump from the estuaries to the tops of the peaks. No salmon, no rainforests, no wildlife, just barren rocks,
and the salmon arn’t doing well.
@Ken: Palin said that the special election result showed that Nick Begich must drop out. Begich said that it showed Palin to be “unelectable.” He seems to be in the race to stay.
Alaska Republicans adapted to the new voting scheme with a “Rank Red” campaign (no, they weren’t talking about odor!). Begich went along and and announced he would write Palin in second for the special election.
A lot of his voters did not, though and ranked Peltola second or left that part of the ballot blank. Palin is a polarizing figure in her home state. People seem to either love her or despise her.
@dm: When I lived on the North Slope, one of our friends was a public defender who was in Barrow. He’s been a vegetarian, which wasn’t going to work up there. He told us that he focused on plankton, as strained by whale.
Before I met him, my husband was sent to Bethel by Vista. He thought the natives there could do the job with a little training, so he worked himself out of the job. He was invited to stay in Bethel. He said, “What will I do?” He was told, “Fish and eat salmon.” Every so often, he gets a far away look and wonders if he made the right choice (he became an inspector for water quality on the construction of the Trans-Alaskan pipeline).
If anyone needs more good news this evening, it appears that Team TFG has once again stepped on all the rakes by insisting on Judge Dearie as a Special Master. See the twitter feeds of Popehat, Akiva Cohen, Scott MacFarlane — well, everyone, really.
@Ken: I guess they made the mistake of including at least one non-hack in their proposed list?
Not really. Alaska has switched to ranked choice voting. Voters who choose to can rank both Republicans above her and it doesn’t really matter there are two of them on the ballot. The big thing is if voters repeat what happened in the by-election, where enough of the voters who voted for Begich put Peltola second rather than Palin to let her win. That kind of thing is the real advantage of ranked choice voting.
I wonder if there will be any synergy between the Murkowski and Peltola campaigns. Being of different parties, they are unlikely to campaign together. But Murkowski has good relations with Alaska’s labor unions and Native corporations. I read that they made the difference in her singular write-in victory in 2010. Peltola should be strong with these groups also. The two women may form an implicit alliance.
@Ken: Several people over there have pointed out that Cannon reserved the right to remove Dearie at any time. So we could end up with Trump trying to get him booted and shopping for a more sympathetic Special Master, as a way of gumming up the works if nothing else.
@Alison Rose 💙🌻💛:
Well, gradually people will just stop listening to her or giving her a microphone. Her value to Republicans was that she was a politician who would say the hateful things they wanted said, and was also a female who they found attractive. So as she gets older, that perceived value is going to diminish. Heck, it’s not like she’s got any subject matter expertise!
@Geminid: Sounds plausible.
@Mike in NC: Sadly, that will take the worst-recorded case of laryngitis, but we can always hope.
Soooo, SuzFam actually used to be a fairly big deal in Alaska. My maternal grandfather’s grandfather and grandmother were some of the first white settlers in Alaska, and they were active in territorial government and statehood efforts. By all historical accounts, very good to the Native populations. One of the family heirlooms is a totem pole gifted to my great-grandmother, who worked as a teacher.
Get a load of these boobies!
@dmsilev: Several news reports stated that Trump’s team picked Dearie because he was seen as an “FBI skeptic” because of the Russia probe. Link
Trump is so narcissistic, he probably thought that ruling was about him, but it was more likely about the rule of law.
Not to open things up again, but just to say that I haven’t watched a single minute of Royal coverage (because I never turn on the TV), except for Charles tantruming over pen issues, but the WaPo did a very nice less-than-five-minutes video that I just watched on YouTube and I’m totally satisfied. Just enough, not one second more is needed. For me.
@Baud: And Senator Mazie Hirono was born in Japan!
Oh, and today’s Wordle was a hot load of bullshit today, FYI.
From what I read at, I think, TPM, they think he’ll have it in for the FBI because of the Carter Page case during his time at the FISA court. They used some bad info for some of what they used for evidence. Is it true that he now hates the FBI after signing the original FISA warrant? Who the hell knows?
Old Dan and Little Ann
@zhena gogolia: I watch too much tv and still haven’t since seen a minute’s coverage.
Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!)
@Suzanne: Agree, I got it at the end, but I liked it when you could assume it was a word in common use today.
Liz Dye, with her awesome commentary at Above the Law
The title alone is everything. Read the whole thing.
Cole is on Twitter casting aspersions on asparagus. Should we be concerned?
On a less happy topic, reports from Iran are that there were large, angry demonstrations today that continued into the night. People were outraged by the death Friday of Mahsa Amini, who was detained and beaten earlier in the week by Tehran’s “morality police”. Ms. Amini, 22, was visiting Tehran with her family when she was arrested for letting too much hair show from under her head scarf.
The protests are taking place in Amini’s native Kurdistan Province as well as other cities including Mashad, Isfahan, and Tehran. Security forces have responded with tear gas, water cannon, beatings and a limited amount (so far) of live fire.
The mediate outlet IranNewsWire is one source for reporting on this story. I expect other regional media like Al Jazeera are covering it also.
@Suzanne: My great uncle was the first Federal Marshall in Alaska, or so we were told. He was from Zanesville, Ohio but seemed to go native. When he visited his son in D.C. he peed in the backyard. A character.
Since Oprah won’t run, how about drafting Prince Harry to run somewhere?
Interesting listening to the Beeb vs US networks today and the attitudes towards Harry.
I did not know that. My sister’s mother-in-law was born in Japan, one of the sweetest people I have ever met and her cooking is five-star.
David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch
Leave it to Palin to blame her supporters for her defeat, saying they were too stupid to understand rank choice voting.
It’s exactly what I predicted, but it’s still a gigantic tell on Trump’s narcissism that he keeps demanding those documents back. It’s not like that would help him in court. It’s a naked display of WAAAGH I’M STILL PRESIDENT.
@Frankensteinbeck: Narcissism and modus operandi in superposition, maybe – indistinguishable from outside his head. Blackmail material was a job requirement in his administration. It could have been all the leverage he had left before it was taken away from him (optimistic past tense).
David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch
@Frankensteinbeck: He’s trying to set up a lack of intent defense.
You know how mobsters fake an infirmity when indicted to set up a diminished capacity defense and alternatively to appear to be non threatening in hopes of serving their sentence in a hospital or home confinement.
Likewise Dump is already trying to con potential jurors into thinking he mistakenly thought the documents his. It’s a desperate defense, at the same time all you need is 1 of 12 jurors to take the bait.
@David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch:
I disagree. That requires an ‘Oops, you mean they’re not?’ rather than screaming, “MINE! MINE! GIVE THEM BACK!” after first hiding them and then having them taken away. This tactic is actually digging him in deeper on exactly the issue of intent.
There really is no strategy. He’s just a raging, idiot toddler.
His one competent lawyer must be having hives dealing with this, but supposedly the PAC is paying that guy a lot of money. And maybe it feels freeing when you know your client has already lost and catering to their idiocy won’t make much difference.
James E Powell
@David 🌈 ☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch:
She’s probably right, though.
@zhena gogolia: A few decades ago, I read about the funeral of Edward VII, back in 1910, the greatest gathering of crowned royal sovereigns in world history. Oneovdeezdaze I’m going to finish the filksong I’ve been intermittently composing about it, titled, of course …
…. “It’s Reigning Men”