Rep. Peltola’s party-bending chief of staff departs

a man in a suit
Alex Ortiz, chief of staff for the late Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), served in the same position for Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska). (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska Congresswoman Mary Peltola is losing her chief of staff.

Alex Ortiz was the last chief of staff for Peltola’s predecessor, Congressman Don Young, R-Alaska.

Peltola, a Democrat, hired Ortiz last year, after she won the special election to fill the remainder of Young’s term. At the time, she was still campaigning to win a full term. Hiring Ortiz helped smooth the transition. It also projected to voters that she intended to cross partisan lines and was serious about fulfilling Young’s legislative agenda. The move caused a bit of a stir on Capitol Hill, where staffers rarely switch parties when they move to a new congressional office.

“While we are all sad to see him go, I am pleased to announce that Alex will be staying on in a special role with my campaign team, where he will be leading Southeast Alaska and Republican outreach,” Peltola said in an emailed media announcement.

The statement also says Ortiz plans to leave at the end of May to launch a career in government relations.

Ortiz was raised in Ketchikan and identifies as Republican.

Deputy Chief of Staff Anton McParland will take over Ortiz’s official duties.

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

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