MEET THE STAFF

Kate Burkhart began her term as Alaska State Ombudsman on June 25, 2017. She served as an assistant ombudsman in 2006-2007.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Burkhart served as executive director of the Alaska Mental Health Board and Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse from 2007-2017. She was also the executive director of the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council from 2010-2017. Kate served Alaskans in Northwest and Southeast Alaska as an attorney with Alaska Legal Services Corporation from 2001-2006, representing victims of domestic violence, elders, and people experiencing disabilities.


Jennifer Christensen is an assistant ombudsman in Juneau. She practiced law for several years before joining the Ombudsman's office in 2008. She received her law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law and is currently licensed to practice law in Alaska.


Denise Duff is an assistant ombudsman in Anchorage. Her state employment began in 1988 at the Division of Motor Vehicles where she enjoyed working with the public. She joined the Office of the Ombudsman in 2002.


Kate Higgins is an assistant ombudsman in Juneau. She received her law degree in 2007 from Lewis and Clark Law School and is currently licensed to practice law in Alaska.


Charlsie Huhndorf-Arend is an assistant ombudsman in Anchorage. She worked in state government for 10 years before joining the Office of the Ombudsman in 2000.


Michael Jones is an intake assistant in the Anchorage office. He worked in Kodiak and Anchorage as a carpenter, teacher, and with the Division of Public Health.


Mark Kissel is an assistant ombudsman in Juneau and the office webmaster. He received a degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin Madison and worked on newspapers and magazines for several years. He has been with the Office of the Ombudsman since 1996.


Beth Leibowitz is an assistant ombudsman in Juneau and is also the office legal specialist. She has been admitted to practice law in Alaska since 1997. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.


Cate Remme joined the office as intake assistant in 2016. While working as a Consumer Advocate with the Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG) she received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health award for outstanding dedication and research in playground safety. Cate began her state service with the Department of Transportation in 2003 before moving to Alaska State Library's Talking Book Center where she was part of the team that was awarded the 2012 Governor's Denali Peak Performance Award for customer service excellence.


Linda Ritchey is the ombudsman intake officer in Anchorage. Before working for the ombudsman, she was employed in the insurance industry.


Tom Webster joined the office as assistant ombudsman in 1984. He left Alaska in 1989 to attend graduate school and returned to the office in 1993. From 1999 through 2000 he was associate ombudsman at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He returned to work with the Alaska State Ombudsman in December 2000.


 


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