New Legislative Aides Bring Diverse Talents
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 9, 2014
FAIRBANKS – Representative David Guttenberg (D-Interior/Wade Hampton) formally welcomed two new staff members to his Fairbanks office today. Samantha Straus began working for Rep. Guttenberg in August after returning home from a twenty-six month Peace Corps tour in The Gambia, West Africa. Connor MacDonald also joined Rep. Guttenberg’s team in August after interning for U.S. Senator Mark Begich and working at the UAF Women’s Center as a student assistant to Dr. Kayt Sunwood.
Straus, 29, first came to Fairbanks in October 2010 to join UAF’s Masters International program, which enables graduate students in Natural Resource Management to combine their degree programs with volunteer environmental work in the Peace Corps. She is presently finishing her thesis on forest management in The Gambia. Originally from Arizona, Samantha now claims Alaska as her home.
“Samantha worked on community gardens in her village in the Peace Corps, a project I’ve been working on here in Interior Alaska for the past twelve years,” Guttenberg said. “Her interest in community organization and natural resource management should complement our team nicely.”
MacDonald, 19, was born in Seattle, WA, but has lived in Alaska practically all of his life. He is Athabascan on his mother’s side and spent much of his childhood learning the history, traditions, and practices of his maternal heritage. Connor has many interests and is presently deciding which to focus on in his studies at UAF.
“Connor’s background and experience make him a welcome addition to our team,” Guttenberg said. “Now, he’ll get to see how we run things at the state level. I’m sure he’ll find it’s a little different than how they do business on the Federal side.”
The recently hired aides join Chief of Staff Meredith Cameron and bring Rep. Guttenberg’s office crew up to full strength. “It’s great to have the office fully staffed with eager workers interested in the issues at hand and who want to work to better understand our political system,” Guttenberg said. “District 38 constituents will enjoy working with Meredith, Samantha, and Connor.”