The highest ranking Alaskan ever to work in the White House is talking about leaving his position. According to Politico, Pete Rouse, President Barack Obama’s former chief-of-staff and one of Obama’s most-trusted advisers, has told friends he will be leaving the administration this fall.
Many, including Obama, credit Rouse with playing a key role in Obama’s rise from a little- known U.S. senator to the presidency and he’s been silently, yet influentially,working behind the scenes since.
Rouse’s mother was the daughter of Japanese immigrants and grew up in Anchorage during World War I. His cousin was a municipal attorney for the City of Palmer.
Rouse came to Alaska in 1978 and stayed to work for Lt Governor Terry Miller, the first and last Republican he worked for. He left in 1983 to work in D.C. But he kept his Alaska voter registration and has always reserved a special place in his heart for the state, its citizens and their interests.
He was instrumental in placing some Alaskans in the Obama administration, like former state Sen. Kim Elton, who
is the until 2012, was the director of Alaska affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
When he was U.S. senator, Frank Murkowski praised Rouse on the Senate floor in 1999, and former Gov. Tony Knowles credit’s Rouse for Obama’s inclusion of the natural gas pipeline in his primary speeches.
Even today as one of the most important and powerful men in government, many Alaskans tell of meeting him in the White House, just steps from the Oval Office. .
It appears that he’s leaving the White House in the months ahead; however, given his role and behavior to date he’ll likely continue to be an adviser and confidant to Obama and he’ll always have a soft spot in his heart for Alaska and his friends here. The feeling, for many, is mutual.
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