Former Chugiak resident recieves Energy Committee promotion

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 14:01

Former Chugiak resident Severin Wiggenhorn is moving up the ranks in Washington, D.C.

A staff member for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Wiggenhorn was recently promoted to senior counsel within the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where her work immerses her in some of the most pressing legal issues facing Alaska today.

“It’s really neat to get to see your home state in a different way,” Wiggenhorn said during a recent phone interview.

The Energy Committee’s legislative activity covers energy resources, public lands and waters, regulation, conservation, mining, mineral leasing and more. In her new position as senior counsel, Wiggenhorn focuses primarily on oil and natural gas issues, according to a statement from the committee.

She’s worked in the nation’s capital for about five years now, she said. Before she joined the staff at the Energy Committee, she served as an assistant parliamentarian within the U.S. House of Representatives. Before she graduated from Harvard Law School, she attended the University of Alaska Anchorage, where her experience with the school’s national powerhouse debate team sparked an interest in politics and current events.

“That’s where I sort of first caught the bug,” she said.

Working for Murkowski and the Energy Committee, she’s gone everywhere from a gold mine to a natural gas plant and rural hub communities. Those experiences helped give her a deeper understanding of her home state’s economy and the issues, challenges and opportunities it faces, she said.

Alaska is different. Travel plans might be delayed by volcanic ash, and fuel might arrive by barge just a few times a year. Explaining those unique circumstances to various people outside Alaska is one of the interesting parts of her job with the committee, Wiggenhorn said.

But the position didn’t come without dedication and countless long days in the office. When it comes to building a career in Washington D.C., Wiggenhorn said, hard work wins out. Pay attention to the details and work your way up.

“Take on the work that nobody else wants,” she said. “You don’t get to do the cool stuff unless you’ve done the nitty-gritty stuff.”

Contact Star reporter Kirsten Swann at [email protected]

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