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Begich Praises Pending Appointment of Former Alaskan as Top White House Aide

Former Alaskan Pete Rouse, in line to be President Obama’s next Chief of Staff, has as much knowledge about Alaska as any federal official in Washington which can only benefit the state. That, today, from U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, praising the pending appointment of Rouse as the White House aide. Currently a senior advisor to the President, Rouse is expected to be promoted as early as Friday upon the departure of current Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who plans to run for mayor of Chicago.

“Pete cut his political teeth in Alaska and continues to have a soft spot in his heart for the 49th state,” said Begich, who has met with Rouse many times during the Obama administration to work on Alaska issues. “From his knowledge of the unique challenges facing Alaskans, particularly Alaska Native issues, to his advocacy for an Alaska natural gas pipeline, Pete’s promotion can only mean good things for Alaska.”

Rouse’s grandparents arrived in Seward in 1915 and his mother, Mary Mikami, entered Alaska schools speaking only Japanese and went on to become valedictorian at Anchorage High School. Rouse came to Alaska in 1978 to work for four years for the late Lt. Gov. Terry Miller, a progressive Republican under Gov. Jay Hammond.

Rouse earned the nickname “the 101st Senator” working for former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and then for Sen. Barack Obama. Rouse helped run Obama’s presidential campaign and went to the White House when Obama was elected.

“Pete is soft-spoken and down to earth while being most of the most effective political operators I’ve known,” Begich said. “It’s great for Alaska to have someone so committed to the success of our state in such high places.”

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