Tribal Government & News

Auger joins Peltola’s congressional staff

01.04.2023 Dean Rhodes Federal government
Contributed photo


By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Grand Ronde Tribal Elder Simone Auger has joined the staff of Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola’s congressional office as a legislative assistant covering natural resources issues, according to a Jan. 2 press release.

Auger, 60, previously worked as a legislative assistant for former Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, who lost the Democratic primary in 2022. Before becoming a legislative assistant, she worked in Schrader’s office as the 2020-21 Mark Hatfield congressional fellow sponsored by Spirit Mountain Community Fund.

“As I prepare to serve my first full term in the U.S. House of Representatives, I’m extremely proud of the team I’ve assembled in Washington, D.C., to work with me on behalf of all Alaskans,” Peltola said.

Peltola defeated former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in an August 2022 special election to succeed Don Young, who died in March. She became the first Alaska Native member of Congress and the only Russian Orthodox member.

Peltola then ran for a full two-year term in Congress during the November election and again defeated Palin for the seat.

Before joining Congress, Peltola was a judge on the Orutsarrarmiut Native Council’s Tribal Court, executive director of the Kuskokwin River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and member of the Alaska Legislature.

Auger became the second Grand Ronde Tribal member to work for a congressional office in Washington, D.C., in a permanent capacity after her fellowship was completed in July 2021.

The first Tribal Fellow to work for a legislator was Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez, who completed her fellowship with Schrader’s office in 2010 and was hired full-time as the congressman's communications director and district representative for Tillamook and Lincoln counties.

Auger’s specialties while working for Schrader included fisheries, transportation, community development, grants, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and ocean issues, including tsunami, marine debris, and wave and wind energy.

Auger, who lives in Washington, D.C., received a bachelor of fine arts degree in interior design from Marylhurst University and a master’s of interior architecture from the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Environment. She also holds a professional certificate in Tribal Relations from Portland State University’s Institute for Tribal Government and a course certificate from Northwest Energy Policy and the Columbia River-Portland State University Mark O. Hatfield School of Government.

Auger was the ninth Grand Ronde Tribal member to be named a Hatfield Fellow. She also is the mother of Smoke Signals social media/digital journalist Kamiah Koch.