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Mary Peltola sworn in as first Alaska Native Congress member in historic moment

Democrat Mary Peltola was sworn in Tuesday to represent Alaska inside your home, becoming the initial Alaska Native Congress member in U.S. history and the initial woman to carry the seat.

Why it matters: It is the first-time Alaska Natives, who constitute 16% of the state’s population, could have a voice in national office. Peltola, who’s Yupik, will serve out the others of the late Rep. Don Young’s (R-Alaska) term after defeating Sarah Palin in the special election.

What she’s saying: “To get a seat at the table differs,” Peltola told AP this week. “But I’m just always reminding individuals who Im not here to represent just the 16% of Alaskans that are Alaska Natives. Im here to represent all Alaskans.”

  • She’s said she hopes to echo Young’s amount of time in office as a far more moderate lawmaker and work over the aisle with conservatives.

The picture as a whole: Alaska Natives have struggled within the last couple of years as salmon a mainstay within their subsistence traditions grew increasingly scarce because of climate change and commercial trawling operations, per AP.

  • Peltola’s campaign, which organized a “fish, family and freedom” platform, promised to “fight contrary to the foreign and out-of-state trawlers which are decimating our king salmon.”
  • Many Alaska Natives celebrated her victory, calling the election of an Alaska Native leader “long overdue,” AP reports.
  • Peltola will face off against Palin along with other opponents in another ranked-choice election in November after advancing in a primary the other day.

Worth noting: Republican Joe Sempolinski and Democrat Pat Ryan, who won their respective special elections in NY, were also sworn into office on Tuesday.

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