Charisse Millett has lived in Alaska her entire life. As a kid, she experienced the state from several vantage points. Her mother was part Native Alaskan, and her father worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, so the family moved around the state to follow his work.
A decade ago, Millett began working in the state House as a legislative aide. A few years later, she ran for office herself and was elected to the House, representing the southeast side of Anchorage. In her freshman year, she helped write bipartisan legislation promoting Alaska’s adoption of renewable energy. The law provided $50 million a year for research development of renewable energy products and was studied by the federal government as a model for national renewable energy legislation. In 2014, she successfully championed a bill recognizing the plethora of languages spoken by Alaska Natives.
Millett, who is a Republican, has drawn praise from her Democratic colleagues for being an approachable leader who understands the needs of all Alaskans -- perhaps a result of her having lived in many parts of the state. “She has a winning personality,” says Democratic state Rep. Bryce Edgmon, “and the ability to relate to rural and urban constituents alike.”