Alaska Congresswoman Peltola back in D.C. following husband’s death

a woman speaks at a podium
Congresswoman Mary Peltola speaks at a 9/11 memorial on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage on Sept. 11, 2023. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska’s sole representative in the U.S. House, Mary Peltola, is back in Washington, D.C., after a break to mourn the death of her husband.

Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr. died in a plane crash in Western Alaska in mid-September.

Congresswoman Peltola returned to a U.S. House trying to elect a new Speaker, and as she cast her vote Tuesday, members on both sides of the aisle rose to give her a standing ovation.

Peltola voted for fellow Democrat, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who received the most votes for House Speaker on Tuesday, but not enough to win.

Jeffries has voiced support for a bipartisan coalition in the House, not unlike those seen in the Alaska Legislature in recent years.

“Bipartisanship is built on trust and empathy. Let’s choose both, and elect a Speaker that’s ready to work with everyone,” Peltola said in a statement posted on social media. “Republicans and Democrats do this in AK. We can do it in DC.”

Peltola also acknowledged that the past month had been very difficult but that she appreciated the support from her colleagues.

Casey Grove is host of Alaska News Nightly, a general assignment reporter and an editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Casey here

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