New U.S. senator likely to see plenty of committee action What others say

Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2003

All things considered, Lisa Murkowski's committee assignments as a freshman member of the U.S. Senate couldn't have been better.

Of primary importance will be her slot on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, action-central for such vital Alaska-interest legislation as ANWR and the natural gas pipeline.

Bills to clear the way for the opening of oil and gas exploration and development on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and clearing the way for construction of a pipeline to carry natural gas from Prudhoe Bay will be before that committee in the 108th Congress.

She can expect ready acceptance from other members of the committee, also, because her father, Frank Murkowski, once chaired that panel before he resigned to become Alaska's new governor.

Her other committee assignments likewise have great importance to Alaska. She will join the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Veterans Affairs Committee, and the Indian Affairs Committee, all hotbeds of activity when it comes to issues of special interest to the 49th State.

She received additional excellent recognition on the second day of the new Congress when one of the key Republican leaders, Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky named her to serve as a GOP deputy Senate whip -- one of only four freshmen, and the only woman, selected.

The job of the whip and his deputies is to build support for top Republican legislative priorities among other members of the Senate.

She will be with some veteran colleagues, including Sens. Bob Bennett of Utah, Wayne Allard and Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, Conrad Burns of Montana, Gordon Smith of Oregon and Mike Enzi of Wyoming.

Freshmen named to serve with her were James Talent of Missouri, John Sununu of New Hampshire and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Sununu and Alexander are two of the biggest names in the new Senate's freshman class.

That puts Lisa right in the middle of the action.

All in all, a very good start for the new senator.

-- Voice of the (Anchorage) Times - Jan. 10



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