Murkowski Misses Vote On Anti-Discrimination Bill

Monday night, the U.S. Senate voted to move ahead with a bill to protect gay people from workplace discrimination.

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Sponsors expected Sen. Lisa Murkowski to be one of a handful of Republicans who would help them get the 60 votes needed to proceed. But Murkowski was absent.

“I had made a commitment to be in Midland, Texas, looking at how Midland and some of the operators in Midland are responding to this amazing, extraordinary boom in oil shale production,” Murkowski said.

A spokesman said she also attended a fundraiser in Texas. She says when she found out the Senate was going to take a rare Monday vote she tried to get back in time but didn’t make it.

The anti-discrimination bill cleared the 60-vote hurdle without her. It is expected to pass the Senate, and Murkowski says she looks forward to voting for it.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska’s congressional delegation, federal agency decisions that shape life in the 49th state, money in politics and elections. She has deep roots in Alaska and this is her third stint in Washington, a city she has grown to love.

She was born in Anchorage and is a West High graduate. She studied political science at the University of Washington and has an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia. During graduate school, she moved to Washington to intern as a D.C. correspondent. But for her first real journalism job, she moved back to Alaska to work at the Homer News. She was there for three years before taking a job at the Anchorage Daily News. Over the course of nine years in Anchorage, she covered City Hall, courts, state politics, and Native and rural affairs.

Then, in April 2001, she moved back to Washington to work in McClatchy Newspaper’s D.C. bureau as a correspondent for the Anchorage paper. She stayed in the position for five years.

She took a year off for a journalism fellowship at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio.

When a vacancy occurred in APRN’s one-person Washington bureau, she jumped at the opportunity. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013.

lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz