Our Team

The primary role of Government Relations is to advocate on behalf of the University of Alaska by building and promoting positive relationships with federal, state, and local policymakers and stakeholders to ensure funding and policy initiatives that reflect the needs of the university.

Government Relations is committed to connecting the University of Alaska's world-class expertise to policymakers at all levels of government, aiding in their work to enhance Alaska's economy and quality of life.

Cha Hutchison

Chad Hutchison

Director of State Relations 
email: clhutchison@alaska.edu

In Juneau during session: 227 4th Street, Juneau
Cell: 907-378-3946

In Fairbanks: 2025 Yukon Drive, Suite 202, Fairbanks, AK 99775
Phone: 907-450-8478

Chad Hutchison joined the UA team as the Director of State Relations as of Jan. 4, 2021.  As Director, Chad communicates with the Legislature and the executive branch during, and after, legislative sessions in Juneau.  

Previous to his employment with the UA, Chad was the Alaska Senate Majority Counsel starting back in January 2013, and has consistent, proven experience with the development and passage of legislation. Chad is known for maintaining strong, trustworthy, meaningful relationships within the Legislature and the executive branch. He has been a licensed, practicing attorney since 2007 and started his career in private practice at Cook, Schuhmann and Groseclose (CSG) in Fairbanks. As Senate Majority Counsel, part of his responsibilities included legal analysis, advocacy and communicating on a wide variety of topics that affect all of Alaska. 

Chad was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. He graduated from UAF with a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis on management. He earned his law degree from Gonzaga University.     

John Latini

John Latini

Executive Director of Federal Relations

email:  jalatini@alaska.edu

John Latini joined the University of Alaska on Feb. 28, 2022 as the Executive Director of Federal Relations. For the past 15 years, Latini has worked in Washington D.C. and brings both higher education and congressional experience to his new role with the university.

Since 2014, he has been with Penn State University including as Director of Federal Relations leading the university’s DC-based advocacy efforts to increase federal funding for scientific research and student financial aid. 

A native of Bucks County, PA, John graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He earned a master’s degree in Public Administration and Graduate Certificate Public Budgeting and Financial Management from Penn State University, and earned an MBA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). 


Denae Benson

Denae Benson

Assistant Director of Federal Relations

email: dabenson@alaska.edu

Denae Benson is the new Assistant Director of Federal Relations for the University of Alaska System. She will be based in Washington D.C. helping to maintain communication with federal officials, sharing UA’s priorities, and monitoring information with key stakeholders regarding relevant legislation or agency decisions that may affect the university system.

Denae spent the first half of 2021 as an intern in the late Congressman Don Young's office before accepting a position in May of that year with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for Chairman Brian Schatz, senior Senator from Hawai'i. In her role, she worked on committee logistics and assisted on various policy issues including climate action, education, Alaska Native issues, and cultural arts and tourism. 

While her family is originally from the villages of Galena and Kobuk, Denae was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska and graduated from West Valley High School in 2015. She is a 2019 University of Alaska Fairbanks alum earning a BA in history and political science, focusing on indigenous history and legislation.