Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

U.S. Senator (since January 2003)

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(Melina Mara/TWP)

Why She Matters

As Alaska's senior senator, Murkowski followed in her father's footsteps-literally. But that almost changed when she lost the GOP primary in the 2010 midterms to an upstart Republican backed by the woman who defeated her dad in his 2006 gubernatorial reelection bid, Sarah Palin.

Attorney Joe Miller (R) was backed by Palin and the tea party and came from seemingly nowhere to defeat Murkowski in the August primary, 51 to 49 percent.

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Gov’t says report on power grid threats mishandled

Federal energy regulators improperly allowed widespread access to a sensitive document that outlined specific locations where the nation’s electric grid is vulnerable to physical threats, a government investigator said Wednesday.

Republicans shift tactics on equal pay issue

Led by a coalition of Republican women senators, the GOP is now offering alternatives to the Democratic approach.

READ IN: Tuesday, April 15, 2014: Senate staff negotiating Transportation bill, Landrieu will start $2m ad blitz, Dems vs. minimum wage in Alaska, and happy Tax Day

Senate staff negotiating Transportation bill, Landrieu will start $2m ad blitz, Dems vs. minimum wage in Alaska, and happy Tax Day


Alaska to sue for road through wildlife refuge

The state of Alaska announced Monday it will sue the federal government to open a road through a national wildlife refuge so that residents of a village will have improved access for emergency flights at an all-weather airport.

In another blow to Pebble Mine, Rio Tinto pulls out

Mining giant Rio Tinto has pulled out of Alaska’s Pebble Mine, dealing another blow to the project.


At a Glance

  • Career History: Alaska House of Representatives (1998-2002); Practicing Attorney (1989-1998);Anchorage District Court Clerk Attorney (1987-1989)
  • Birthday: May 22, 1957
  • Hometown: Ketchikan, Alaska
  • Alma Mater: Georgetown University, B.A. 1980; Willamette University, J.D. 1985
  • Spouse: Verne Martell
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Committees: Energy & Natural Resources (ranking member); Health, Education, Labor and Pensions ; Indian Affairs ; Appropriations
  • DC Office: 709 Hart Senate Building, Washington, DC 20510, 202-224-6665

Path to Power

Lisa Murkowski was born in Ketchikan, Alaska on May 22, 1957. She is a third generation Alaskan and the first Alaskan-born U.S. senator. The second of six children, she grew up across the state, in Wrangell, Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage. Her father, Frank, was a banker during her childhood but was elected senator the year Lisa graduated from college.

Murkowski attended Georgetown University, where she earned her degree in economics in 1980 (after transferring from Willamette University in Salem, Ore.). She came back to Alaska to serve as a legislative aide. In 1985, Murkowski earned her law degree from Willamette University and joined the Alaska Bar Association in 1987.

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The Issues

Murkowski is known as a moderate, (she has been called a "squishy Republican" by conservative, anti-abortion rights group Focus on the Family ) with some political opponents charging that she's not as conservative as a Republican should be, or at least as conservative as her father. She voted with the majority of Republicans 80.5 percent of the time in the 110th Congress.

Murkowksi has managed to remain clear of the scandal that plagued many other Alaska Republican politicians, including her father. But it has touched her family, which is a legend in Alaska politics and without whom she likely be nowhere politically.

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The Network

It's hard to overstate Murkowski's ties to her father Frank Murkowski, who appointed her to the Senate seat he departed after 22 years to become Alaska's governor in 2002.

Murkowski got her political start an intern former Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-Alaska) office during her senior year of high school. In 2002, Murkowski and Stevens began working side-by-side in the Senate.

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Additional Resources

  1. "Murkowski narrowly defeats Knowles," CNN, Nov. 3, 2004
  2. Eilperin, Juliet, The Washington Post, "Murkowski Targets EPA on Climate," January 21, 2010
  3. Cockerham, Sean, Bolstad, Erika, Anchorage Daily News, Murkowski says 'Let's Make History' Sept. 18, 2010
  4. "About Lisa," Sen. Lisa Murkowski's website
  5. Watson, Traci, USA Today, "EPA to Propose Ways to Cut Car Emissions," September 14, 2009
  6. See full resolution here
  7. The U.S. Congress Votes Database, Washington Post,
  8. Almanac of American Politics, 2008 edition, National Journal
  9. Bohrer, Becky, The Associated Press via the Washington Post,"Murkowski emerges as winner in Alaska Senate race," Nov. 17, 2010
  10. Pershing, Ben, "Filling Murkowski's Shoes Isn't Easy for Murkowski," Roll Call, Jan. 27, 2003,
  11. Eilperin, Juliet, The Washington Post, "Murkowski and her Lobbyist Allies," January 11,2010
  12. Spiess, Ben, "New senator known for her independence," Anchorage Daily News, Dec. 21, 2002, Lexis-Nexis
  13. Tsong, Nicole, "Murkowski: 'The Republican agenda is synonymous with the Alaska agenda': U.S. Senate fight rages to the end," Anchorage Daily News, Oct. 31, 2004, Lexis-Nexis
  14. Bravender, Robin and Darren Samuelsohn, ClimateWire, "Murkowski CO2 Amendment Could Have Broad Reach," September 22, 2009
  15. Stanton, John, "McConnell Brings Murkowski Into Inner Circle," Roll Call, Jan. 28, 2009,
  16. Hopkins, Kyle, "Halcro chronicles: Folk hero or sore loser?," Anchorage Daily News, Aug. 18, 2008
  17. Yardley, William, "Jet That Helped Defeat an Alaskan Governor Is Sold," New York Times, Aug. 25, 2007,
  18. Almanac of American Politics, 2008 edition, National Journal,
  19. Lopez, Kathryn Jean, "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner," National Journal, May 13, 2005,
  20. Alaska Secretary of State's web site, accessed Sept. 1, 2010