Frank H. Murkowski (born March 28, 1933) is a Polish-American politician who is the current Governor of Alaska and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, he was a United States Senator from Alaska from 1981 until 2002.
Raised in Ketchikan, Alaska, Frank Murkowski initially attended Santa Clara University but graduated from Seattle University, both Catholic Jesuit universities. Prior to his election to the Senate in 1980, he worked in the banking industry in Anchorage and Wrangell.
During his time in the Senate, he was most notable as Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001. As chair, he argued and attempted unsuccessfully to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
He was elected governor on November 5, 2002, defeating his Democratic opponent, Fran Ulmer 56ď1ÓHe succeeded retiring Democrat Tony Knowles and took office on December 2, 2002.
Upon his inauguration, he resigned his Senate seat and appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, the Majority Leader-designate of the Alaska House of Representatives, in his place. This led his opponents to accuse him of nepotism; as a result, a ballot measure passed in 2004 stripped governors of the power to appoint U.S. Senators, making Alaska one of only three states to do so.
He has six children with his wife, Nancy. He currently resides in the state capital, Juneau.
As of May, 2006, according to a poll, Murkowski has the second lowest approval rating out of the 50 governors. His approval rating is only 23└while his disapproval rating is 73ÓMuch of the disapproval is over a recently purchased jet using state funds. Murkowski's use of the jet over cheaper commercial air travel has caused controversy among citizens as well as legislators. Senator Kim Elton publishes a newsletter detailing each time the jet is used, the cost, and the price of a first class commercial ticket the same day to the same destination.