Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's (R) office said that the governor is skipping this week's big events in Washington because Alaska is her "higher priority."

The Hill noted that Palin was missing at the National Governors Association meeting and the Conservative Political Action Conference later this week at the same time she's facing some criticism back home. One Republican lawmaker blasted her for traveling to Washington earlier this month just as a food and fuel shortage hit the western part of their state.

Palin spokeswoman Abbey Bulawa e-mailed the Briefing Room that Palin indeed had pressing state business last weekend, making a trip to Washington difficult.

There are long travel times involved, especially when the starting point is western Alaska. While there are benefits to attending some national events, the timing now is such that the governor believed her higher priority was to attend to events on the ground in-state. After her trip west, she returned to the state capital. She is now working with senior advisors on how to deal with the federal stimulus package.