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ONC and The Organized Village of Kwethluk have endorsed Mary Peltola for US House

Mary Peltola is one of 51 candidates whose names will appear on the June 11, 2022 primary ballot for a special election to fill Alaska's only U.S. House seat. Pictured April 1, 2022 in Bethel, Alaska.
Elyssa Loughlin
/
KYUK
Mary Peltola is a candidate for the U.S. House. Pictured April 1, 2022 in Bethel, Alaska.

Two Kuskokwim River tribes have endorsed Mary Peltola in her bid for the U.S. House of Representatives. The Orutsararmiut Native Council (ONC) in Bethel and The Organized Village of Kwethluk have both committed their support for Peltola’s candidacy.

Peltola, who is Yup’ik, has lived in both Bethel and Kwethluk, as well as in other Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta communities. She’s an ONC tribal member and served as an ONC tribal judge for two years from 2020 to 2021. Peltola’s mother, Elizabeth "LizAnn" Piicigaq Williams, is from Kwethluk and a tribal member of The Organized Village of Kwethluk.

Peltola called the endorsements from the two tribes “wonderful” and is pleased to have their confidence.

“I really appreciate the support and the endorsement of my tribe and my mom’s tribe as well,” Peltola said.

ONC Executive Director Brian Henry said that Peltola's election would give ONC a direct working relationship with a U.S. Congress member, and would help the tribe's voice be heard nationally.

“Right now we have to compete just to get into their office, to meet with them, at least share ideas. Imagine if you had one of your own representing you, knowing all the things that your people go through. Believe me, that will have a big impact,” Henry said.

Both ONC and The Organized Village of Kwethluk issued letters endorsing Peltola. One section of Kwethluk's letter held particular meaning for the candidate. For 10 years, Peltola served in the Alaska State Legislature representing lower Kuskokwim River communities, including Kwethluk and Bethel. In its endorsement letter, the Kwethluk tribe said that Peltola used her position "addressing and working on issues affecting everyone, regardless of their party affiliation and ethnicity.”

“So that was something that meant a lot to me," Peltola said, "that it wasn’t just about one community, or one tribe, or one region of the state. I really appreciated the recognition that I do work on issues affecting everyone, regardless of their party affiliation and ethnicity.”

It’s a path that Peltola has said that she would continue if elected to the U.S. House.

The U.S. House special general election and regular primary election is Aug. 16.

Anna Rose MacArthur is the KYUK News Director. She has worked at KYUK since 2015 and previously worked at KNOM in Nome, Alaska.
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