EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Peltola speaks about returning to Washington D.C. after husband’s death

Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 10:20 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) is back in Washington and speaking for the first time since losing her husband in a plane crash.

When asked how she has been doing over the last month, Peltola said, “It’s just a funny question to try to answer. The outpouring of support and sympathy has just been very, very appreciated and it’s a tough time and it’s very tragic. But despite it all, we still feel blessed.”

Peltola said she is thankful “for the distraction of work.”

“It’s good to be back at work, said Peltola. “There are many pressing things on the agenda here in the nation’s capital. And it just seemed like the right time to come back to work.”

Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr. died in a plane crash in September after his plane crashed in Western Alaska. A preliminary report on the plane crash did not say why the plane went down. It did show the plane was carrying more than 500 pounds of moose meat at the time of the crash.

Peltola said, for those that did not know “Buzzy,” he was a “legend.”

“He was a legend. He worked in federal service for over 30 years, I think 37 years. He loved flying. Flying made him ten years younger. Moose hunting was his favorite time of the year. So, you know, to say he died doing something, he loved is an understatement.”

During a House floor vote Tuesday, Peltola was given a standing ovation by a bipartisan group of Congress members. She said it caught her off guard.

”But that was very touching. And it was a very nice moment of bipartisanship. Yeah, a nice moment of humanity,” she said.

When asked if she had any message that she wanted to send to the people in Alaska that have been thinking about her, Peltola said, “I just really appreciate the kind of space that they’ve given myself and my kids and our extended family to have this time to grieve. And just the outpouring of support, it’s been really heartwarming.”