In The News: Editorial from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner -- Consensus builder: Sen. Murkowski tapped again by congressional colleagues

EDITORIAL: Consensus Builder

Sen. Murkowski tapped again by congressional colleagues.
Published Saturday, June 27, 2009
Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Republican colleagues this week elected her to a top spot in their organization — vice chairman. 
Her election was the latest advancement to reflect the confidence and respect she has gained on her own in Washington, D.C. Earlier this year, she secured the top Republican post on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She also got a spot on the Senate Appropriations Committee just as former Sen. Ted Stevens’ long tenure there ended. And she was named one of three “counsels” to the Senate Republican leadership.
Murkowski’s ascent has been helped by some spectacular public relations disasters among strategically placed colleagues. Sen. Larry Craig left the energy post open when he retired last year, after a disputed arrest for soliciting sex in a men’s bathroom. Sen. John Ensign resigned from the Republican conference’s leadership team this month after an affair became public. After some shuffling, that resulted in the open vice chairman’s seat.
Some may try to use those circumstances to diminish the significance of Murkowski’s advancement, but that would be illogical. Openings in committees and conferences occur regularly for all sorts of reasons. Murkowski has been consistently selected to step up when such opportunities have arisen. That’s the telling thing.
Murkowski has pursued favor among her colleagues since day one. Consider her response in her first press conference as senator six years ago in Washington, D.C., when asked how she would distinguish herself:
“I’m the type of person who will sit down and enjoy having a long conversation,” she said. “I view myself as more of a consensus builder.”
That seems to be working out for her and for Alaska.

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