Alaska Congressional Delegation selects Julie Kitka to lead Denali Commission

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both R-Alaska) and Representative Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) today announced that they have passed along their recommendation for Julie Kitka to serve as the Denali Commission Federal Co-Chair. If approved, Kitka would replace Jocelyn Fenton who started serving in the role of Interim Federal Co-Chair on March 6, 2024.

“Alaskans know what Julie Kitka can deliver when she’s taking the lead,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “For 33 years, she served as the President of the Alaska Federation of Natives, successfully balancing the needs of a diverse group of tribes, village corporations, regional corporations, regional nonprofits and tribal consortiums, while advocating for Alaskan Natives on a local, state, and federal level. There is no one I can think who is more qualified to advocate for economic development in rural Alaska than Julie.”

“Julie Kitka has been a generational leader advancing the interests and improving the lives of Alaska Native people,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “During her historic, 33-year tenure as President of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Julie elevated the voices of Alaska Native communities and tribes to the highest levels of our state and federal governments, and accomplished so much on behalf of tens of thousands of Alaskans. She also had an unwavering focus on connecting AFN to our Alaska-based military and veterans community that was another very impressive aspect of her tenure. Julie’s wealth of leadership experience and vast knowledge of rural Alaska uniquely qualify her to lead the Denali Commission and execute its important mission. I look forward to continuing to work with Julie in this new role to create opportunities for economic and infrastructure development in our rural communities.”

“Julie Kitka is a force of nature. Her work at the forefront of Alaska Native politics has inspired and motivated many across the state. I’ve known Julie for many years, and she has always spoken out for the issues Native and rural Alaskans face. As an organization dedicated to serving the needs of rural Alaskans, the Denali Commission needs a leader like Julie,” said Rep. Peltola. “I’m proud of the delegation’s selection, and I’m hopeful that we will see her approved and at work as soon as possible.”

Background: The Denali Commission was established in 1998 by the late Senator Ted Stevens to fund economic development and infrastructure in rural Alaska. The Denali Commission also serves as the lead agency to assist communities facing flooding, permafrost degradation threats and coastal erosion, such as the village relocation of Newtok to Mertarvik.