Since she first went to Washington, D.C., to represent Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski has quickly, and politely, climbed through the ranks of the national Republican Party, using her intelligence and reason to win the confidence of her colleagues. With her recent unanimous election as the new vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference - a scant seven years after she arrived in D.C. - she now is placed well inside the party's main sphere of influence.
Murkowski's gain is Alaska's gain, as we can only benefit from having our elected official in the Senate's fifth-highest party leadership position.
She is the only woman on the conference, and the only senator from the West Coast, so Murkowski will be able to bring those perspectives to the Republican team, as well as concerns that affect Alaskans directly.
Through her new role, Murkowski will help craft party message, policy and strategy, according to her office.
In praising Murkowski, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, "Sen. Murkowski is an important voice at the leadership table as we work to address the critical issues facing our nation. She is a powerful and effective advocate for Alaska and the Republican Conference, and I trust Sen. Murkowski will continue to offer a thoughtful perspective in her new role on the leadership team."
Thoughtful is the right word to describe Murkowski's style.
Her job as a senator began in controversy when she was appointed to the position in 2002 by her father, then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, to fill the seat he vacated when he became governor. Though the cries of nepotism were deafening at times, Sen. Murkowski worked quietly, thoughtfully and diligently for Alaska, and, two years later, when the time came for her to run for election, Alaskans wisely chose to keep her as our senator.
Congratulations to Sen. Murkowski on her new position in the Republican party, and congratulations to us for recognizing her dedication to our state.