Lisa Ann Murkowski (born May 22, 1957) is the senior U.S. Senator from the State of Alaska and a member of the Republican Party. She was appointed to the Senate in 2002 by her father, Governor Frank Murkowski. After losing a Republican primary in 2010, she became the second person ever to win a U.S. Senate election through write-in votes. Born in Ketchikan, Alaska, she is the daughter of former U.S. Senator and Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski. She graduated from Georgetown University and received her law degree from Willamette University College of Law. After working as an attorney in the 1980s and 1990s, she was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1998. Shortly after being elected House Majority Leader in 2002, she was appointed to the United States Senate by her father. Murkowski was re-elected to a full term in 2004. Her 2010 re-election grew turbulent when former magistrate judge Joe Miller defeated her in the Republican primary. Murkowski mounted a write-in campaign, winning the general election. The long-shot campaign made national headlines: the only other Senate candidate to win a write-in vote was Strom Thurmond in 1954. Murkowski, generally considered a moderate conservative, is the only current Republican Senator from any West Coast state.
Lisa Murkowski was born in Ketchikan, Alaska to Nancy R. (née Gore) and future U.S. Senator from Alaska, Frank Murkowski. Her paternal great-grandfather was of Polish descent, and her mother had Irish and French Canadian ancestry.As a child, she and her family moved all over the state due to her father's job.
Frank Murkowski worked in the banking industry until he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980. Ms. Murkowski earned a B.A. in economics from Georgetown University in 1980, and a Juris Doctor from Willamette University College of Law in 1985. She is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. After law school Murkowski failed the bar exam four times. Murkowski's first attorney job, after passing the bar exam on her fifth attempt, was an attorney position in the Anchorage District Court Clerk's office from 1987 to 1989. Murkowski became a member of the Alaska Bar Association in 1987. She was an attorney in private practice Anchorage, Alaska from 1989 to 1998. She also served, from 1990 to 1991, on the mayor's task force on the homeless.
Alaska House of Representatives
In 1998, she was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives and named as House Majority Leader for the 2003–2004 session. She never served as Majority Leader, due to her appointment to the Senate. 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.
After losing a Republican primary in 2010, she became the second person ever to win a U.S. Senate election through write-in votes.
Murkowski is considered a moderate Republican. She is generally pro-choice on abortion and supports non-federally funded embryonic stem cell research. She is also a member of the Republican Majority For Choice, Republicans For Choice, and The Wish List (Women in the Senate and House), a group of pro-choice women Republicans.