McConnell Brings Murkowski Into Inner Circle

Posted January 28, 2009 at 10:16am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday tapped Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to serve as one of his “counsels,” the latest in a string of recent advancements for the first-term Alaska Senator.

Murkowski, now her home-state’s senior Senator, joins Sens. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah) as counsels to McConnell, a unique position to the Republican leadership structure. The counsels help provide guidance and advice to the Minority Leader, according to McConnell’s office.

“It is an honor to be named to the Senate Republican leadership team, and I look forward to working with Sen. McConnell and the other members of his team,” Murkowski said in a statement.

Facing a second term in 2010, Murkowski has been advancing in status within the Conference. Earlier this week she was named ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and last week she was given a plum spot on the Appropriations Committee.

In securing the Appropriations seat, Murkowski fills the void left by former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who was defeated in November amid a cloud of scandal. Democrat Mark Begich is now the junior Senator from the state.

“Sen. Murkowski has quickly ascended to leadership positions in both our caucus and in the Senate. She brings sound judgment and a thoughtful perspective to the Senate, and our leadership team looks forward to her wise counsel and guidance,” McConnell said.