Murkowski’s new chief of staff knows the Senate, and rural Alaska

Man in boat
Garrett Boyle (Family photo)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has hired a new chief of staff. 

Garrett Boyle previously worked as deputy chief of staff, legislative director and chief counsel in Murkowski’s Washington, D.C. office. He left in 2021 to become the federal co-chair of the Denali Commission.

“His strong background in rural development and policy issues on both the federal and state side make him uniquely qualified to serve in this new role,” Murkowski said in an emailed statement.

Boyle grew up in several Alaska communities, including Ouzinkie, Unalakleet, and Seward. He has a law degree from Tulane University.

Lobbyist Mike “Fish” Pawlowski was Murkowski’s chief of staff for five years, during Boyle’s previous stint in the office. Boyle’s assets, he said, include a deep understanding of congressional rules and a calm disposition.

“When things are really stressful, Garrett has a good way of making you laugh and kind of taking down the temperature,” Pawlawski said. “I think that’s really a valuable skill.”

In some offices, the primary duty of chief of staff is to act as a gatekeeper, but Pawlowski said that’s not how it is with Sen. Murkowski. A big part of her chief’s job, he said, is thinking aloud with Murkowski before she makes a consequential decision.

“She processes deeply (and) I think is well known for taking plenty of time to think through issues. (She) often frustrates lots of people that she doesn’t come to a quick conclusion,” Pawlawski said. “But you help that process of her thinking through all the different ups and downs and side ways, surrounding the issue.”

A Senate chief of staff, Pawlawski said, is also the liaison to other congressional offices and to the White House, in addition to the duties of managing the office staff.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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