Welcome To Congress, New Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola!
Let's all do some cheering for two new Democrats in Congress, Rep. Mary Peltola of Alaska, the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress, and Rep. Pat Ryan of New York, who were sworn in yesterday along with one more new member, Republican Joe Sempolinski, also of New York; all three won recent special elections. Peltola was elected to fill out the remaining term of the late Don Young (R), who died earlier this year after holding Alaska's sole House seat since sometime after Charlie Chaplin made that movie where he ate a shoe (fine, it was 49 years). Peltola's win was also notable because it ended Sarah Palin's political career all over again.
Peltola, what with being a historic first and flipping Alaska blue, has been ridiculously busy while getting acclimated to her new job; the New York Times reports that Peltola's spokesperson told an Alaska radio station earlier this week that she's been getting more than 100 interview requests daily. The Times had to settle for reporting on that radio interview, we'll add, because Peltola didn't have time for an interview with the Grey Lady.
At a ceremonial photo op that was not her actual swearing-in, Peltola was surrounded by family: her husband, her seven children, two grandchildren, and two sisters. She joked to one of the photographers, "I hope you brought a wide angle lens." Enjoy the chaos and smiles, and oh my god that blubby little babby face at 2:37!
The Times also notes that when Peltola gave her first floor speech, since there are no other members of her state's House delegation, Pelosi invited the two senators from Alaska — Lisa Murkowski and the other one — to stand near Peltola at the podium, along with other House Democrats. In her remarks, Peltola said, "It is the honor of my life to represent Alaska, a place my elders and ancestors have called home for thousands of years," adding, "To be clear, I am here to represent all Alaskans." And then some idiot on Twitter probably grumbled that there'd better not be any Native Alaskan hobbits, or maybe was mad at the following. NOT US!
\u201c@MarkHamill Thank you Master Skywalker! @MarkHamill\u201d— Mark Hamill (@Mark Hamill) 1662005524
Now that she's been sworn in and gotten a tour of the place, Peltola will have just enough time to start getting her bearings in the Capitol complex before she has to run to hold onto her seat in November's general election, which will once more feature her, Palin, and Nick Begich III, plus some Libertarian. The general election will once again feature ranked-choice voting, so get ready for Palin to whine about that all over again, and for Crom's sake we hope Peltola will once again win, because we certainly don't see Palin becoming any more appealing over the next eight weeks.
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