50 Most Beautiful People for 2011: Page 31 of 50

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Age: 54
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Married

Sen. Lisa Murkowski was almost a case of we-didn’t-know-what-we-had-‘til-it-was-gone. The two-term senator made history last fall when she became only the second senator to win a write-in election after losing in the GOP primary.

It was precisely during her campaign’s down-and-out days when Murkowski’s natural grace came through. She used her quick smile, easy laugh and relaxed demeanor to energize the manual labor and door-to-door politicking it took to get voters to pencil in her three-syllable last name.

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The Alaska native is a known health nut. She’s often spotted walking from her Capitol Hill home to the Senate at the start of a workday — a hulking backpack slung over her shoulder — or jogging up the stairs to get to a vote or conference meeting. She also has carried this philosophy into her policy work. Among other things, Murkowski has championed healthy food choices for schoolchildren.

It’s in Alaska, however, where she’s really in her element. Her online photo gallery shows her in pink fleece and hiking boots, sitting on an overturned bucket while feeding bears at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and flashing a smile underneath a ski hat, wrapped in a flowing fur coat at the 39th Annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Murkowski scooted around the Senate in a wheelchair for several months in the spring of 2009 after she tumbled 300 feet down a mountain while skiing at Alyeska Resort, tearing two ligaments in her left knee.

These days the characteristic spring in her step is back, and Washington has her, at least until 2017.

Murkowski declined to participate in an interview for this feature.

—Kris Kitto

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