Murkowski picks up three staffers from Rep. Young office


U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has hired three former members of the late Congressman Don Young’s staff: Kevin Swanson, Michael Songer, and Lauren Noland.

Kevin Swanson, former staffer to Democrat Sen. John Kerry, will be a legislative assistant in the personal office, where he will handle transportation, telecommunications, and financial services. He recently worked as a legislative assistant for Congressman Young, handling his transportation and infrastructure portfolio. He holds a BA degree in political science from Oberlin College. Swanson also previously worked for Democrat Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts. (Clarification, Murkowski’s office points out that Swanson was an unpaid intern for Sen. Kerry in 2009 and an unpaid intern for Sen. Markey in 2010.)

Michael Songer, former staffer to Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, will be staffing the Committee on Indian Affairs, where Murkowski serves as vice chairman. He was a senior legislative aide to Young, and served in the U.S. Air Force as a Security Forces member, which included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He has a MA in history from Arizona State University and is pursuing an aerospace and defense advanced degree from the University of Tennessee.

Lauren Noland was hired as a staff assistant in the personal office. She previously worked as a legislative correspondent for Congressman Young. Noland is a U.S. Army veteran, military spouse, and mother of five from Chugiak.


  1. Seems like everyone used to work for Don Young.
    I worked for Don Young as legal counsel. During his 50 years in office, well over 1000 people went through the revolving doors of legislative staffing.
    Most were Democrats and most were from outside of Alaska. Many never even stepped foot in Alaska. That’s the way it is in DC.
    Lisa Murkowski gets some of the most Left-wing staffers to work in her DC office.

    • We could have an interesting conversation. Your “over 1000” requires some challenging arithmetic. I assume you are counting every short-term intern and maybe committee staff as well. Even then a complete staff turnover every year would be necessary to reach 1000. I suspect that things changed when the Congressman moved to the Rayburn. I do not quarrel with your other statements.

  2. Two out of three were dems? Really? I have to agree with Mary on this one. Surely there are people available who know something about Alaska. Or does she care? And it says something about Young that he had to employ so many dems. Yes, he worked across the aisle, but still, a few real Alaska republicans would have been nice. Judging from Mary’s reply above, this is common. Given the dem response to republicans, are they withholding anything from their employers? The level of hatred of dems for republicans in some states is really intense according to some interviews I have seen lately.

    • The system isn’t designed to serve us. It’s designed to self perpetuate.

      Any illusion otherwise was blown apart during the Trump presidency.

  3. I do not understand why Alaskans are disparaging a mother of 5 from Chugiak who is also a veteran. Are MRAK posters bots from Putin?

  4. Where are these staffers located? AK or DC?
    If I was a congressional staffer in DC, I would not care who I was working for. With the cost of housing, etc… I would work for my mortal enemy if needed to keep the steady paycheck coming.

    • Yeah. That’s called “selling your soul”. And “Just doing my job” is no longer considered a legitimate excuse for bad behavior and poor representation in DC

  5. At least one of these folks couldn’t locate Alaska on a globe. The more important point is that too often these folks have almost nothing in common with Alaskans. They could care less about Alaskans, snow or individual liberty. They read the Washington Post, watch MSNBC and (electronically) pick up a paycheck. They plan vacation trips to the Caribbean and plot ways to get their kids into Georgetown or Yale. Along the way, they send a few empty sound bites back to Alaskans with opinions or problems. There are some exceptions.

  6. DC is a sludge farm. IE……..the SWAMP!
    Trump was trying to drain it. And THAT’s why Democrats, the media, and the bureaucracy hates his guts. The rest of America…….loves Trump.

  7. I doubt Sarah Palin should she win the seat will do much in the way of constituent service. That involves thinking of others. She will be support and back up for the Republicans in “DC” in team “plays”. Kelly Tshibaka WILL display interactive understanding and keen intellect for solving complex problems for the folks at home in Alaska. That will be important to her. The federal landscape will probably change drastically and she will be on top of the changes. Hope all goes well.

    • Akwhitty:
      Essentially correct. Most DC staffers have their heads in the clouds. Most are expendable and wind up trapped in the bureacracy. Done move on to graduate school. A few enter politics or go to law school. The sad thing is, a lot of them run the day to day affairs of our elected politicians and had never stepped foot in the congressman’s home state. Such is DC.

  8. Lisa needs to replace her ENTIRE “constituent affairs” staffers. They are all lazy, inept, and completely uninterested in doing anything to assist Alaskans who cannot navigate the bureaucracy of a federal agency. When a federal agency kept me on hold for TWO HOURS until such time as the phone call was disconnected, I contacted Lisa’s office and asked for assistance. I tried to keep in contact with the Anchorage office through the months, but Sherry in Anchorage never returned any of my calls. Eight months later, Dana in the Juneau office sent a letter to me indicating there was nothing they could or would do. That letter was mailed to an address I have not lived at for TEN years; my written request for assistance included my current address. When I called Dana to tell her much she screwed up, she responded saying “isn’t it amazing how fast you got the letter I mailed to a completely outdated address” and then she laughed. Nobody could have a worse staff than Lisa Murkowski – Alaskans deserve much better.

    • Barbara, My experience with Lisa is similar to yours. No follow up, never had an e-mail answered, nyet, non, nada. She did slam a door in my face once however, that was along time ago when she was still playing with dolls. My, how things have not changed!

  9. “They obviously don’t want to work for whoever they think is winning the seat for Congress.”
    Don’t want to or know they will not be hired by?
    The staff is a part of Permanent DC. Let the princess collect them.

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