Thelma Engstrom and Anita Garnick, both from Juneau, were the first Republican women to serve in Alaska's
Territorial House of Representatives. Thelma Engstrom, the grandmother of AFRW member Cathy Engstrom Munoz,
was elected in 1947 and represented the Panhandle for two years in the 18th Territorial Legislature.
Doris Barnes of Wrangell served in the Alaska Territorial House of Representatives from 1949-52 and was later
elected to the Alaska Territorial Senate, serving from 1953-56. She was also an alternate delegate from Alaska
to the 1960 Republican National Convention in Chicago.
ALASKA REPUBLICAN WOMEN - 1960's & 1970's
After Statehood, Republican Mildred Banfield from Juneau was the first woman to serve in the Alaska State Senate,
from 1963-64. She was also the first Republican woman elected to the State House, serving four terms from 1967-70.
Helen Beirne from Spenard was next, serving in the House from 1969-70 and again from 1973-76.
No Republican women served in the 10th State legislature from 1977-78. But Arliss Sturgulewski from Anchorage was
elected to the State Senate in the fall of 1978 and served fourteen years in Senate. Arliss was the Republican
Gubenatorial candidate in 1986 and 1990. Also in 1978, Republican Ramona Barnes of Anchorage was elected to the
State House of Representatives and was the longest-serving woman legislator in state history, serving for 20 years.
ALASKA REPUBLICAN WOMEN - 1980's & 1990's
In 1983, Republican Jan Faiks, (Anchorage) joined Arliss in the State Senate while Republicans Barbara Lacher (Wasilla)
and Mae Tischer (Anchorage) joined Ramona in the House.
In 1985-86, six Republican women - Jan Faiks, Arliss Sturgulewski and Edna DeVries (Palmer) in the Senate and Virginia
Collins, Alyce Hanley and Drue Pearce all from Anchorage served together in the House in the 14th Alaska Legislature.
Finally, in 1989-90, a grand total of seven Republican women were serving in the State Legislature: Jan, Drue and Arliss
in the Senate and Ramona, Virginia, Cheri Davis (Ketchikan) and Alyce Hanley (Anchorage) in the House.
In 1990, Republicans Gail Phillips (Homer) and Georgianna Lincoln (Rampart) were elected to the State House.
Republicans Jeannette James (North Pole) and Cynthia Toohey (Anchorage) were elected to the State House in 1992.
In 1994, Republican Lyda Green of Wasilla defeated Alaska's longest serving incumbent Democrat senator. Lyda has
represented her Mat Su Valley constituents ever since. At the same time Senator Green was elected to the State Senate,
Beverly Masek of Willow was elected to the State House, becoming the first Native Republican woman elected to the Alaska Legislature.
In 1998, Republican Lisa Murkowski, from Anchorage was elected to the House, joining Ramona, Gail, Beverly and Jeannette in the 21st State House.
ALASKA REPUBLICAN WOMEN - Year 2000 - 2005
In 2000, Republicans Lesil McGuire (Anchorage) and Peggy Wilson (Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka) were elected to the State House.
Peggy was the first woman in the country ever elected to two different state legislatures, having first served in the North
Carolina State House.
Republican Cheryll Heinze (Anchorage) was elected to the House in 2002 and served one term. In 2003, Nancy Dahlstrom became the
first Republican woman ever appointed to the State legislature. She went on to win her election in 2004, the same year Republican
Gabrielle Le Doux (Kodiak) was elected.
In 2005, Lyda Green was our only Republican woman in the State Senate. Republican women in the House included Lesil McGuire,
Peggy Wilson, Nancy Dahlstrom, and Gabrielle LeDoux.
ALASKA REPUBLICAN WOMEN - Year 2006 & Beyond
In 2006, Republican Sarah Palin became the first woman to be elected Governor of Alaska. Also in 2006, Lesil McGuire was elected
to the Alaska State Senate and Anna Fairclough was elected to the State House.
ALASKA REPUBLICAN WOMEN
While Jeannette James is the only Republican woman ever elected to the Alaska Legislature from Fairbanks, three Republican
women have been elected Mayor in Fairbanks. Rose Ringstad and Ruth Burnett both served as Mayor of the City of Fairbanks
and Rhonda Boyles was elected Mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
Four of the last six Republican presidential electors from Alaska were women: Susan Fischetti and Lucy Groh in 2000 and
Gloria Tokar and Roberley Waldron in 2004.
Alaska Republican Women in Leadership
Republican Jan Faiks was the first woman President of the Alaska Senate, serving in 1987 and 1988. Drue Pearce was the second
female Republican Senate President, serving in 1995-96 and 1999-00. Lyda Green became the third Republican woman to be
elected Senate President in 2007.
Republican Ramona Barnes was the first woman elected Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives in 1993-94 and was also
the first woman to hold every legislative leadership position from majority leader to minority whip. Gail Phillips was the
second female Speaker of the Alaska State House (1995-96 and 1997-98).
In 1995-96, both top legislative leadership positions in Alaska were held by Republican women when Drue Pearce was elected
President of the Senate and Gail Phillips was elected Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives.
While five different Alaska Republican women have held those top leadership positions, no Democrat woman has ever been Senate
President or Speaker of the Alaska House.
In 2002, Lisa Murkowski was appointed to the United States Senate seat held by her father, Frank Murkowski, when he was
elected Governor. In 2004, Lisa defeated both a Primary challenger and then Alaska's former Democrat governor in the general
election to become Alaska's first woman elected to the United States Senate.
In 2006, Republican Sarah Palin defeated two Primary challengers before beating Alaska's former Democrat governor in the
general election to become the first woman Governor of Alaska.