Yesterday “The Atlantic” magazine held an event for their “Women of Washington Series” featuring Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on stimulating the global economy through energy innovation. Senator Murkowski supports a reasonable and balanced approach to America’s energy future and spoke of our need as a country to both keep existing jobs and lower costs, while also exploring new energy capabilities and technologies. Additionally, unlike many of her Republican counterparts, Senator Murkowski outwardly supports a federal loan guarantee program and also discussed freely the changes she and her constituents see occurring over time in their natural Alaskan environment. Not only do these views on energy policy cast the Senator in a unique light, but Senator Murkowski’s historic write-in election win in 2010, has only added to her aura of independence.
After losing in the Republican primary to Tea Party backed candidate Joe Miller, Murkowski staged a write-in candidacy and won the general election. Perhaps it’s because she is one of 17 female Senators, or maybe it’s because she is from the remote state of Alaska, but the event highlighted Senator Murkowski’s independent thinking in an age of staunch partisanship. Colleagues on both sides of the aisle are outspoken in their praise of the Senator, and her willingness to do what she believes is right. In discussing her 2010 victory, Murkowski said she believes her win last year gave people in the middle the feeling they had a voice, and a say, in the United States’ political process. As the country gears up for the 2012 Presidential election, and the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements seemingly dominate our media outlets, Senator Murkowski’s career and most recent victory serve as a powerful example of what is possible when our elected officials do right by their constituents rather than simply by their party.