My roots in Alaska. My Alaskan roots are deeply entrenched in the western tundra of Nome, where I was delivered by an Inupiaq midwife. My mother is from Elim; my late father was born and raised in Teller. My mother, Lena, is now 93-years old, and I have the privilege of being her primary care coordinator. My mother was educated up to the third grade, and my father graduated from an elementary school run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Growing up in Elim, my mother worked seasonally in the local hotel, and in the cannery, until she retired. My father was a subsistence hunter and construction worker, retiring from the IUOE Local 32. My childhood was full of dog teams, berry picking, squirrel hunting, going to church, family, and lots and lots of jokes. At one time, I suppose, I could understand Yup’ik and Inupiaq, because I remember that both of my grandmothers spoke to me in their native language.
My education. My education, while vast, can be summed up in one sentence: I am a lifelong learner. After high school, I left Seward to attend the Alaska Methodist University in Anchorage. Four years later, at the age of 22, I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts. I felt like I had conquered the world! I was the first college graduate in my family! Little did I know that it was only the beginning. Three years later, I graduated law school with a Juris Doctor. Later came a Masters of Science degree from Columbia University. Then a Masters of Arts from Dartmouth. Two years later, I earned a third Masters degree from Harvard University. And, two years after that, in 2013, I received a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. One thing is for sure: I believe in education, and my love for learning will serve as a strong asset for me as your senator. Education is the surest and best way to provide the foundations of a healthy future for our thousands of our Alaskan children, and therefore lead to healthy futures for the future of our communities.
My passion for public service. I am deeply and passionately committed to public service, and I am committed to putting people before profits. I am a former mayor of the city of Seward, as well as a former city councilman. I had the privilege to serve as the Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs under Governor Walter Hickel. Additionally, I served as the Commissioner for the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development under Governor Frank Murkowski. I have served on numerous boards and commissions, such as Chugach Native Corporation, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Alaska Industrial Development Authority and other non-profit community service organizations.
My service as your Senator. I am running for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate for the State of Alaska. I am the only Democratic candidate. As your nominee, I stand for equality, justice and fairness for all, as interpreted in the United States Constitution for over 250 years. As I stand for you, I will not be afraid or intimidated to stand up against out-of-state big corporations that are trying to buy our elections. I am running on a platform to make Alaska a better place for each of us: for you, for your future, the future of your family, and the future of our State.