Sealaska Chairman Kookesh Flown to Anchorage After Heart Attack

Former state senator Albert Kookesh was medevaced to Anchorage Monday morning after suffering a heart attack. His eldest daughter Elaine says the 64-year old Kookesh was in Juneau preparing for a trip out of state, when he called his wife saying he was having chest pains and was going to the hospital. His wife also was in Juneau and was able to fly with him.

He was stabilized and flown to Providence Hospital and Medical Center.

“They’re currently now at Providence. They’re going to go in with a catheter and see where the blockage is,” she said Monday morning.

The eldest daughter of Mr. Kookesh’s five children, Elaine Kookesh says she will travel to Anchorage this evening to be with her dad.

“My sister and I are heading up tonight and then our other sister will head up as soon as she can,” she said. “Just keep us all in your thoughts and prayers. He’s a tough guy and never sits even when he’s sick.”

A Democrat from Angoon, Kookesh served 16 years in total, eight as a representative and eight more as a senator. He was defeated by Sitka Republican Bert Stedman after parts of their southeast districts were combined during redistricting.

Kookesh is the current chairman of Sealaska’s board of directors and co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives board.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for Alaska Public Media. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for nearly 30 years. Radio brought her to Alaska, where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting before accepting a reporting/host position with APRN in 2003. APRN merged with Alaska Public Media a year later. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. 

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