Peltola says wrong date on her congressional bio is likely a reporting error she made decades ago

woman with brown hair
Mary Peltola during her 2022 campaign for the U.S. House (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

Congresswoman Mary Peltola says she’s not exactly sure why her online biography shows she attended a Colorado university a year longer than she did.

“It’s really embarrassing, and I think it’s probably my error,” she said.

Her congressional biography page shows she attended University of Northern Colorado from 1991 until 1994. So does her biography on the website of the Alaska Legislature, where she served for a decade.

But the university says she left in spring 1993.

Peltola said she assumes she relied on memory and misreported the date back in the late 1990s for her Alaska Legislature bio. Then she and others continued to rely on that information.

The discrepancy came to light last week because USA Today set out to see if other freshmen Congress members lied about their educational background the way Rep. George Santos of New York did. The USA Today reporters found one congress member who didn’t accurately describe his graduate degree. And they found Peltola’s date discrepancy.

Her case is unlike that of Santos. For one, she never pretended to have a college degree. But, she said, when you’re in the public eye, every part of your life is examined.

“And I think that’s fine. That’s as it should be,” she said this week, between votes on the House floor. “If you’re in public service, that is the cost of service.”

Peltola spent a decade in the Alaska House, representing Bethel and other western Alaska communities. She was elected to Congress twice last year, in a special election and then for a full term.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her Read more about Lizhere.

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