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Lisa Murkowski

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Collection: 1957 Births, Alaska Lawyers, Alaska Republicans, American People of French-Canadian Descent, American People of Irish Descent, American People of Polish Descent, American Roman Catholics, American Women Lawyers, Appointed United States Senators, Female United States Senators, Georgetown University Alumni, Living People, Members of the Alaska House of Representatives, People from Anchorage, Alaska, People from Fairbanks, Alaska, People from Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Alaska, People from Wrangell City and Borough, Alaska, Republican Party United States Senators, United States Senators from Alaska, Willamette University College of Law Alumni, Women State Legislators in Alaska
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Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Murkowski
United States Senator
from Alaska
Assumed office
December 20, 2002
Serving with Dan Sullivan
Preceded by Frank Murkowski
Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Mary Landrieu
Member of the Alaska House of Representatives
from the 14th district
In office
January 19, 1999 – December 20, 2002
Preceded by Terry Martin
Succeeded by Vic Kohring
Personal details
Born Lisa Ann Murkowski
(1957-05-22) May 22, 1957
Ketchikan, Alaska, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Verne Martell
Children 2
Alma mater B.A.)
Willamette University (J.D.)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Senate website

Lisa Ann Murkowski (born May 22, 1957 in Ketchikan, Alaska) is the senior United States Senator from Alaska and a member of the Republican Party. She has served in the Senate since 2002. She became the state's senior senator when Ted Stevens retired in 2009.

She is the daughter of former U.S. Senator and Governor of Alaska Frank Murkowski. Before her appointment to the Senate, she served in the Alaska House of Representatives and was eventually elected majority leader.

Murkowski was appointed to the U.S. Senate by her father, Frank Murkowski, who resigned his seat in December 2002 to become the Governor of Alaska. She completed her father's unexpired term which ended in January 2005. She ran for and won a full term in 2004.

She ran for a second term in 2010. She lost the Republican Party nomination to Tea Party candidate Joe Miller. She then ran as a write-in candidate and defeated both Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams in the general election,[1] making her the first senator to be elected by write-in vote since Strom Thurmond in 1954.[2]


  • Early life, education, and early career 1
  • Alaska House of Representatives 2
  • U.S. Senate career 3
    • Committee assignments 3.1
    • Caucus memberships 3.2
  • Political positions 4
    • Affirmative action 4.1
    • Gun control 4.2
    • Alaska Native issues 4.3
    • Healthcare 4.4
    • Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill 4.5
    • Energy and environment 4.6
    • Don't ask don't tell 4.7
    • Same-sex marriage 4.8
  • Controversies 5
  • Political campaigns 6
    • 2004 6.1
    • 2010 6.2
  • Electoral history 7
  • Personal life 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Early life, education, and early career

Murkowski was born to Nancy Rena (née Gore) and Frank Murkowski.[3] Her paternal great-grandfather was of Polish descent, and her mother had Irish and French Canadian ancestry.[4] As a child, she and her family moved around the state with her father's job as a banker.

She earned a Pi Beta Phi sorority [5] and represented the state of Alaska as the 1980 Cherry Blossom Princess.[6] From Willamette University College of Law, she received her J.D. in 1985. Then, she was employed as an attorney in the Anchorage District Court Clerk's office from 1987 to 1989.[7] From 1989 to 1998, she was an attorney in private practice in Anchorage, Alaska. She also served, from 1990 to 1991, on the mayor's task force for the homeless.

Alaska House of Representatives

In 1998, Murkowski was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives and reelected in 2000 and 2002. She was named as House Majority Leader for the 2003–2004 legislative session, but resigned before taking office due to her appointment to the U.S. Senate.[8] Murkowski sat on the Alaska Commission on Post Secondary Education and chaired both the Labor and Commerce and the Military and Veterans Affairs Committees. In 1999, she introduced legislation establishing a Joint Armed Services Committee.

U.S. Senate career

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Since winning re-election, her voting record has become more moderate when compared to her previous years in the Senate.[9][10][11] She is generally The Wish List (Women in the Senate and House), a group of pro-choice women Republicans.

Murkowski is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[13]

The National Federation of Independent Business named Murkowski a Guardian of Small Business for her "outstanding" voting record on behalf of small business owners.[14]

Affirmative action

Murkowski opposes affirmative action.[15]

Gun control

Murkowski opposes gun control,[15] and was one of 46 Senators to vote against mandatory background checks in April 2013.[16]

Alaska Native issues

Murkowski has helped protect and ensure that health care is delivered by the 100 percent Native American-owned and controlled Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and a network of tribally operated hospitals and clinics in rural Alaska hubs and villages. Murkowski is an active member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and served as Vice Chair of the Committee during the 110th Congress. She is the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a member of the Committee on Appropriations, and has a continuing role on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. In 2009, she was honored with a Congressional Leadership Award by the National Congress of American Indians.[17] She is the first Alaskan to receive the award.[17]


Murkowski opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; she voted against the contiguous United States.

Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill

Murkowski was one of five Republican senators who voted with Democrats for the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.[21]

Energy and environment

Murkowski is currently the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She has given her support to efforts to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).[22] For the 109th Congress, Republicans for Environmental Protection, a group dedicated to environmental causes, gave Murkowski a rating of 2%, noting that in 2006, she voted against S.C. Resolution 83, intended to bolster energy security and lower energy-related environmental impacts, against an amendment to S. 728 that would make the Army Corps of Engineers more accountable for the environmental and economic impacts of their projects, for oil drilling in ANWR, for offshore oil and gas drilling.[23]

Murkowski believes that recent technological developments have made drilling safer and more economical.[24]

Murkowski introduced a bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting the amount of greenhouse gases that major industries can produce. In a statement, Murkowski said, "We cannot turn a blind eye to the EPA's efforts to impose back-door climate regulations with no input from Congress."[25]

In the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill(BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico), Murkowski opposed a bill that would have raised the liability cap for oil spills from $75 million to $10 billion. She said that such a large cap would jeopardize various businesses, and that exposing companies to greater risk would make it impossible for smaller companies to compete.[26]

Don't ask don't tell

Murkowski supported the repeal of don't ask, don't tell after consideration of the Department of Defense report. "Our military leaders have made a compelling case that they can successfully implement a repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'," she said. "It is infinitely preferable for Congress to repeal the law, and allow the service chiefs to develop and execute a new policy, than to invite a court-ordered reversal of the law with no allowance for a military-directed implementation. I've heard from Alaskans across the state who believe it's time to end this discriminatory policy, and I agree with them."[27] On December 18, 2010, Murkowski was one of eight Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, and one of only four who had voted for cloture.[28][29][30][31][32][33]

Same-sex marriage

In 2004, Senator Murkowski voted in favor of a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man and one woman.[34] She said that would also support an Alaska state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman and that each state should have the right to establish its definition of marriage.[34] Murkowski voted for a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2006.[35] According to her spokesman, she wanted to protect the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman that Alaskans added to their state constitution in 1998.[35]

On March 27, 2013, Murkowski said that her opinion on same-sex marriage was "evolving".[36] She said she noticed that the country's views on marriage are changing, noting conversations with her children and their friends as an example.[36] She said the country had more important issues to focus on than same-sex marriage.[36] On June 19, 2013, Murkowski announced her support of same-sex marriage,[37] citing the encouragement of family values and Alaskans' favor of limiting government's power.[38] She became the third sitting Republican United States Senator to do so after Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois.[39]


In July 2007, Murkowski stated she would sell back land she bought from Anchorage businessman Bob Penney, a day after a Washington watchdog group filed a Senate ethics complaint against her, alleging that Penney sold the property well below market value.[40] The Anchorage Daily News noted, "The transaction amounted to an illegal gift worth between $70,000 and $170,000, depending on how the property was valued, according to the complaint by the National Legal and Policy Center."[40] According to the Associated Press, Murkowski bought the land from two developers tied to the Ted Stevens probe.[41]

In 2008, Murkowski amended her Senate financial disclosures for 2004 through 2006, adding income of $60,000 per year from the sale of a property in 2003, and more than $40,000 a year from the sale of her "Alaska Pasta Company" in 2005.[42][43]

Political campaigns

Murkowski, while a member of the state House, was appointed by her father, Governor Frank Murkowski, to his own unexpired Senate seat in December 2002, which he had vacated after being elected governor. The appointment caused a controversy in the state, and eventually resulted in a referendum that stripped the governor of his power to directly appoint replacement Senators.[44]


Murkowski was elected to a full six-year term against former Democratic Governor Tony Knowles in the 2004 election, after winning a primary challenge by a large margin. The two were in a dead heat in polls. The centrist Republican Main Street Partnership, which wanted to run TV ads for Murkowski, was told no air time was left to buy.[45] Near the end of the general campaign, senior senator Ted Stevens shot campaign ads for Murkowski and warned the public that if a Democrat replaced Murkowski, they were likely to receive fewer federal dollars.


Murkowski faced the most difficult election of her career in the August 24, 2010, Republican Party primary election against Joe Miller, a former U.S. magistrate judge[46] supported by former Governor Sarah Palin.[47][48] The initial ballot count for the primary showed her trailing Miller by a margin of 51–49%, with absentee ballots yet to be tallied.[49] After the first round of absentee ballots were counted on August 31, Murkowski conceded the race, stating that she did not believe that Miller's lead would be overcome in the next round of absentee vote count.[50][51]

Following the outcome of the primary election, the Murkowski campaign floated the idea of her running as a Libertarian in the general election.[52] But on August 29, 2010, the executive board of the state Libertarian Party voted not to consider allowing Murkowski on its ticket for the U.S. Senate race.[53]

On September 17, 2010, Murkowski said that she would mount a write-in campaign for the Senate seat.[54] Her write-in campaign was aided in large part with substantial monetary aid and assistance from the Native corporations and PACs, as well as support from state teachers' and firefighters' unions.[55]

On November 17, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Murkowski became the first Senate candidate in more than 50 years to win a write-in campaign, thereby retaining her seat.[56] Murkowski emerged victorious after a two-week count of write-in ballots showed she had overtaken Miller.[57][58] Miller did not concede defeat.[58] U.S. Federal District Judge Ralph Beistline granted an injunction to stop the certification of the election due to "serious" legal issues and irregularities raised by Miller as to the hand count of absentee ballots.[59] On December 10, 2010, an Alaskan judge dismissed Miller's case, clearing the way for Murkowski's win;[60] however, Miller appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court, and the results were not certified. On December 13, Miller appealed the Alaska Superior Court decision of the prior week to the Alaska Supreme Court. Miller's appeal was rejected by the state Supreme Court on December 22, 2010.[61] On Dec. 28, 2010, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline dismissed Miller's lawsuit. Murkowski was certified as the winner on December 30 by Gov. Sean Parnell.[62]

Electoral history

United States Senate election in Alaska, 2004[63]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lisa Murkowski (Incumbent) 149,446 48.62
Democratic Tony Knowles 139,878 45.51
Independent Marc J. Millican 8,857 2.88
Alaskan Independence Jerry Sanders 3,765 1.22
Green Jim Sykes 3,039 0.99
Libertarian Scott A. Kohlhaas 1,237 0.40
Independent Ted Gianoutsos 726 0.24
United States Senate Republican primary results, 2010[64]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joe Miller 55,878 50.91
Republican Lisa Murkowski (Incumbent) 53,872 49.09
Total votes 109,750 100
United States Senate election in Alaska, 2010[65][66][67]
Party Candidate Votes %
Write-in Lisa Murkowski (Incumbent) (Write-In) 101,091 39.49
Republican Joe Miller 90,839 35.49
Democratic Scott McAdams 60,045 23.46
Libertarian David Haase 1,459 0.57
Independent Timothy Carter 927 0.36
Independent Ted Gianoutsos 458 0.18
Write-in Other write-in votes 1,143 0.44
Invalid or blank votes 2,784 1.08%
Total votes 258,746 100
Voter turnout 52.3%

Personal life

Murkowski is married to Verne Martell.[68] They have two children, Nicolas and Matthew.[69]

See also


  1. ^ Huma Kahn (November 17, 2010). "Lisa Murkowski Makes History, Wins Alaska Senate Race But Joe Miller Not Conceding". ABC News. 
  2. ^ Yardley, William. "Murkowski Wins Alaska Senate Race." The New York Times. 2010-11-17. Retrieved 2014-11-13.
  3. ^ "MURKOWSKI, Lisa – Biographical Information". Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  4. ^ "murkowski". Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  5. ^ "Notable Pi Beta Phis in Government and Politics". Pi Beta Phi. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Bolstad, Erika (2010-10-02). "Alaska".  
  8. ^ Mike Chambers (December 20, 2002). "Gov. Murkowski appoints daughter to fill Senate seat". Associated Press. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski Honored as Guardian of Small Business by NFIB". Alaska Business Monthly. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Seelye, Katharine (December 21, 2002). "New Alaska Governor Gives Daughter His Seat in Senate".  
  16. ^ "How senators voted: Expanding gun background checks". USA Today. April 17, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "Alaska Federation of Natives, Inc.: 2010 AFN Convention. Resolution 10-02" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  18. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  19. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  20. ^ ", Congressional votes database, 110th Congress, 1st session, Senate vote 307". Washington Post. 2007-08-02. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  21. ^ Fulford, James: Hate Crimes Bill Passes–Five Republicans Voted For It. 17 July 2009
  22. ^ "League of Conservation Voters". Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  23. ^ "Republicans for Environmental Protection 2006 Scorecard". Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  24. ^ "United States Senator Lisa Murkowski". Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  25. ^ "Colorado companies blast Murkowski's bid to block EPA on greenhouse gases". Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  26. ^ Clark, Lesley. "Alaska's Murkowski blocks Senate on higher oil spill liability". Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  27. ^ Alaska's senators vote to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' 18 December 2010. Alaska Dispatch.
  28. ^ "smit9187: Collins, Snowe, Kirk, Voinovich, Burr, Ensign, Brown, Murkowski joined the". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  29. ^ "Senate passes ‘don’t ask,’ sends repeal to Obama – Arizona News from USA Today". 2010-12-18. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  30. ^ "Snowe, Collins join majority in repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME". 2010-12-18. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  31. ^ "Eight Republicans back ‘don’t ask’ repeal – Shira Toeplitz". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  32. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  33. ^ "'"Senate Vote 281 – Repeals ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The New York Times. 
  34. ^ a b "Alaska senators vote for ban on gay marriages". Associated Press ( July 16, 2004. 
  35. ^ a b Ruskin, Liz (June 7, 2006). "Alaska senators quietly back marriage amendment". SitNews (Ketchikan, Alaska). 
  36. ^ a b c Tunseth, Matt (March 27, 2013). "'"Murkowski's gay marriage views 'evolving. Chugiak-Eagle River Star (Eagle River, Alaska). 
  37. ^ Murkowski, Lisa (June 19, 2013). "Murkowski Shares Thoughts on Marriage Equality with Alaskans: The Pursuit of Happiness – Without Government Interference" (Press release). 
  38. ^ Camia, Catalina (June 19, 2013). "Murkowski becomes 3rd GOP senator for gay marriage". USA Today. 
  39. ^ Blake, Aaron (June 19, 2013). "Murkowski becomes third GOP senator to back gay marriage". The Washington Post. 
  40. ^ a b "Murkowski to sell back Kenai property".  
  41. ^ "Stevens' aide said to testify in probe".  
  42. ^ Kate Klonick, "Murkowski Reveals Two More Murky Deals in Financial Disclosure Amendments", TalkingPointsMemo, June 17, 2008
  43. ^ Lisa Murkowski Exposed In Kenai River Land Scam, Alaska Report, July 20, 2007
  44. ^ Weigel, David. "Right Now – Murkowski challenger hints at Palin endorsement". Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  45. ^ Crucial Senate races costly, caustic
  46. ^ "Joe Miller – Restoring Liberty". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  47. ^ Bohrer, Becky (2010-08-24). "Murkowski in close contest for Alaska Senate".  
  48. ^ Cave, Damien (2010-08-25). "Murkowski of Alaska Locked in a Tight Senate Race".  
  49. ^ "State of Alaska 2010 Primary Election, August 24, 2010 Unofficial Results".  
  50. ^ Cockerham, Sean (2010-08-31). "It's another Tea Party win as Alaska's Murkowski concedes".  
  51. ^ Joling, Dan (August 31, 2010). "Murkowski Concedes Alaska Primary Race".  
  52. ^ Memoli, Michael A. (2010-08-27). "Libertarians an option for Murkowski".  
  53. ^ Cockerham, Sean (2010-09-07). "Libertarians cool to Murkowski candidacy".  
  54. ^ Bohrer, Becky (2010-09-18). "Murkowski mounting write-in bid for Alaska Senate". Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-09-18. Murkowski faces tough odds with her  
  55. ^ Murphy, Kim (2010-11-18). "Lisa Murkowski claims victory in Alaska Senate election".  
  56. ^ Bohrer, Becky (2010-11-17). "Murkowski Defeats Miller in 2010 Alaska Senate Race". Huffington Post. 
  57. ^ Cillizza, Chris (2010-11-17) "Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski wins write-in bid, AP says", The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  58. ^ a b AP staff reporter (November 17, 2010). "AP: Murkowski Wins Alaska Senate Race". NPR. Associated Press. 
  59. ^ "Federal Judge Halts Certification of Alaska Senate Election as Miller Eyes Lawsuit". Fox News. AP. 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  60. ^ Brad Knickerbocker. "Joe Miller-Lisa Murkowski US Senate race appears to be over". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  61. ^ CNN (December 22, 2010). "Breaking: Alaska Supreme Court rules against Miller". 
  62. ^ LISA DEMER "Court rejects Miller, lifts certification hold: 2010 Alaska U.S. Senate election | Alaska news at". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  63. ^ 2004 General Election GEMS ELECTION RESULTS
  64. ^ "State of Alaska 2010 Primary Election, August 24, 2010, Unofficial Results".  
  65. ^ "State of Alaska 2010 General Election Unofficial Results". December 28, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2014. 
  66. ^ "State of Alaska 2010 General Election November 2, 2010 Official Results". December 28, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2014. 
  67. ^ "AK US Senate". Our Campaigns. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2014. 
  68. ^ "Murkowski-Martell". Anchorage Daily News. August 14, 1987. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  69. ^ Bighash, Leila (October 2010). "Is Lisa Murkowski Married?". Politics Daily. AOL News. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 

External links

Alaska House of Representatives
Preceded by
Terry Martin
Member of the Alaska House of Representatives
from the 14th district

Succeeded by
Vic Kohring
United States Senate
Preceded by
Frank Murkowski
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Alaska
Served alongside: Ted Stevens, Mark Begich, Dan Sullivan
Preceded by
Mary Landrieu
Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee
Party political offices
Preceded by
Frank Murkowski
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Alaska
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Joe Miller
Preceded by
John Thune
Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference
Succeeded by
John Barrasso
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Maria Cantwell
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Lindsey Graham
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