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Born in Juneau, Katie Hurley has devoted her life to public service in Alaska. She started her career as the assistant to Territorial Governor Ernest Gruening for 12 years, and then served as the Chief Clerk to the Constitutional Convention, and then as the secretary of the Territorial Senate and the State Senate after statehood. Later she was elected to the State House of Representatives from Wasilla, where she has resided since 1960.
Hurley was the first woman to win a statewide partisan election when she was the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 1978. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Alaska Commission on the Status of Women, the Chair of the Alaska Commission on Human Rights, President of the State Board of Education for seven years, a member of the Alaska Judicial Council, and on the Matanuska Telephone Board for nine years. She shares her time and encyclopedic knowledge of public affairs in Alaska with students across the state.