Mary Peltola

Born:August 31, 1973 (age 50)
Career:U.S. House of Representatives, 2022 - Present
Judge, Orutsararmuit Native Council Tribal Court, 2020-2021
Bethel City Council Member, 2011-2013
Representative, Alaska House of Representatives, 1999-2009

Mary Peltola is the representative for Alaska’s at-large congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. On August 16, 2022, she won the special election for the seat following the death of Rep. Don Young, and then also won the general election on Nov. 8, 2022. Peltola, a Yup’ik Alaska Native, is first Alaska Native member of Congress and the first woman to represent Alaska in the House of Representatives.

Peltola was born in Anchorage, Alaska on August 31, 1973 and raised on the Kuskokwim River in Kwethluk, Tuntutuliak, Platinum, and Bethel. Her Yupik name is Akalleq. She attended the University of Northern Colorado from 1991 – 1994 for elementary education. Additionally she’s taken courses with the University of Alaska Fairbanks from 1994 – 1995, the University of Alaska Southeast from 1995 – 1997 and the University of Alaska Anchorage from 19997 – 1998. In college she worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as a herring and salmon technician.

In 1996 Peltola began an internship with the Alaska state legislature under Rep. Irene Nicholia and that same year ran for the Bethel representative seat but lost to the incumbent. She worked reporter and as the campaign manager for Willie Kasayulie. She served in the Alaska House of Representatives, serving 39th district from 1999 to 2003 and the 38th district from 2003 to 2009. While in the House, she worked on the Bush Caucus. In 2010 Peltola helped with the write-in campaign for Lisa Murkowski. She worked as a manager of community development and sustainability at the Donlin Gold Mine Project from 2008 to 2014. Peltola was elected to Bethel City Council from 2011 to 2013. She worked as a state lobbyist from 2015 to 2017. Peltola served as the executive director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission from 2017 to 2022. From 2020 to 2021, she served as a judge on the Orutsararmuit Native Council Tribal Court.

She has served on the boards of the Nature Conservancy, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska Children’s Trust, and the Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska.


Alaska Legislature (n.d.). “Mary Sattler Kapsner” 100 Years of Alaska’s Legislature. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
Anchorage Daily News (2022, August 5). “CANDIDATE Q&A: U.S. House — Mary Peltola” Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved September 2, 2022.

Hounshell, B. (2022, August 31). “Mary Peltola, a Democrat, Defeats Sarah Palin in Alaska's Special House Election” New York Times. Retrieved September 2, 2022.

MacArthur, A. R. (2022, August 11). “Former Y-K Delta lawmaker Mary Peltola is running for Alaska’s US House seat” KTOO Public Media. Retrieved September 2, 2022.

Mary Peltola for Congress (n.d.) “My Story” Mary Peltola for Congress. Retrieved September 2, 2022.

Paybarah, A. (2022, September 1). “Who is Mary Peltola, the first Alaska Native in Congress?” Washington Post. Retrieved September 2, 2022.

Peltola, M. (2021, November 16). “Written Testimony of Mary Sattler Peltola, House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Water, Oceans, and Wildlife” National Resources Committee. Retrieved September 2, 2022.

Richards, Z. (2022, August 31). “Mary Peltola defeats Sarah Palin in special election to become first Alaska Native elected to Congress” CNBC. Retrieved September 2, 2022.

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