Congresswoman-elect Mary Peltola announced members of her official congressional staff, as she prepares to be sworn in on Sept. 13 to serve the remainder of the late Rep. Don Young’s term through January.
Peltola brought back Alex Ortiz, who served as Congressman Young’s chief of staff, to serve as her interim chief of staff. Ortiz is from Ketchikan and had also worked for the late Sen. Ted Stevens. Ortiz is also known as the one who ordered all members of Young’s staff to get a Covid-19 vaccine or be fired. One person on Young’s staff did, indeed, lose her job over the vaccine mandate.
The former chief of staff to the late Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot will be Peltola’s interim director of constituent services. Claire Richardson is a Juneau resident who is a former long-time journalist, primarily for public broadcasting. She worked for Democrat Gov. Tony Knowles, Democrat-leaning Gov. Bill Walker, and the scandal-ridden Mallott, who slipped out of office at the end of Walker’s term.
Larry Persily, well-known journalist and political operative, will be Peltola’s senior policy advisor. Persily was appointed by former President Barack Obama to be the federal coordinator for Alaska North Slope natural gas projects, was deputy commissioner at the Alaska Department of Revenue, and was a staff member for Alaska legislators Rep. Mike Hawker and Rep. John Lincoln. He worked in newspapers for decades, including The Anchorage Times, Anchorage Daily News, Associated Press, Juneau Empire, Petroleum News, Wrangell Sentinel, and Skagway News. He was also chief of staff to former Kenai Borough Mayor Mike Navarre and worked coordinating CARES Act funds for the City of Kenai.
Hector Jimenez, deputy campaign manager for Peltola, will be her scheduler. Jimenez has lived in Alaska since 2013.
Josh Wilson is Peltola’s interim communications director, coming straight off of that role in the campaign. He has past congressional work experience and worked in the administration of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.