Murkowski Thanks Outgoing Chief Counsel, Announces Staff Promotions and New Hire

April 3, 2020

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today announced the departure of Kellie Donnelly, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s majority Chief Counsel, who has retired from federal service and accepted a position in the private sector. Murkowski also announced two promotions and a new hire.

“Kellie has been instrumental in nearly everything our committee has undertaken and accomplished over the course of nearly two decades, from small amendments tucked into broader bills to landmark energy legislation,” Murkowski said. “We thank her for her years of dedicated service, her true expertise on the broad range of issues that come before us, and her always excellent counsel. We will miss Kellie greatly but wish her the best as she embarks on her new endeavor.”   

Donnelly came to Capitol Hill in 1994 and shortly thereafter joined the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works as majority counsel. She left to serve as counsel at the Department of the Interior and spent several years in the private sector before joining ENR in 2003. She has since served the committee in a number of roles, including promotions to Deputy Chief Counsel in 2009 and Chief Counsel in 2018.

Murkowski also announced today that Lucy Murfitt, ENR’s Deputy Chief Counsel and Deputy Staff Director for National Resources, has been promoted to Chief Counsel. Isaac Edwards, the committee’s Special Counsel, has been promoted to Deputy Chief Counsel. In addition, Murkowski announced the committee has hired Jacob McCurdy as a Professional Staff Member.

“We’re fortunate to have several great counsels as part of our team, and I have every confidence that Lucy and Isaac will excel in their new roles and continue to ensure our committee is one of the very best on Capitol Hill,” Murkowski said. “Both have truly great legal minds, considerable substantive expertise, and years of valuable experience in Congress. I’m also very excited to welcome Jake, who joins us from the Department of Energy to focus on electricity, cybersecurity, and a number of related issues.” 

Murfitt joined ENR in 2013 and has previously served as the committee’s senior counsel and public lands and natural resources policy director. Prior to ENR, she spent eight years as senior counsel to U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and the Republican Whip, handling the energy, environment, and natural resources portfolio. She has also worked at the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University as its director of policy and partnerships. A veteran, Murfitt served as an environmental attorney during her time in the U.S. Army.  

Edwards, who was born and raised in Homer, Alaska, began his career on Capitol Hill working for former Senator Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, in 1997. He became Senator Lisa Murkowski’s legislative director in 2003, and moved to ENR to serve as counsel in 2009. Prior to today’s promotion, he has held the titles of senior counsel and special counsel, focusing primarily on Arctic, territorial, and international energy issues.

McCurdy joins the committee from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity, where he served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor. McCurdy previously served in DOE’s Office of Congressional Affairs and as a staff assistant in the U.S. Senate. McCurdy hails from Alabama and is a graduate of the University of Alabama. 

Murkowski is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.