Anchorage immigration attorney Margaret Stock said Tuesday that she's running as an independent against Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Stock, a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Reserves who has spent years arguing that legal immigration bolsters national security, said she was encouraged to run by Alaskans who were unhappy with Murkowski.
"I have a track record of getting things done in Washington, but I do it behind the scenes, which is a good skill for senators to have," Stock said in a phone interview Tuesday evening. "I work really hard, I know how the government operates, I know how to push the bureaucratic buttons to make things happen and I'm not beholden to any party."
Stock said she thinks she can win as an independent -- the majority of Alaskans aren't registered with a political party, she said. She said she changed her party affiliation from Republican to independent last week. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, a longtime Republican, was elected as an independent in 2014.
She said she hadn't yet started raising money because of federal filing rules, but she said she'd received a number of financial commitments.
"I think I definitely can run a competitive campaign, given the promises people have made to help me," Stock said.
Stock, 54, grew up in Massachusetts and received a bachelor's degree in government from Harvard University. She came to Fort Richardson in Anchorage in 1986 as a military police officer. She spent nine years on the faculty at West Point and also taught at University of Alaska Anchorage.
She now works as the primary attorney in the Anchorage office for the Bellingham, Washington-based law firm Cascadia Cross-Border Law.
In 2013, Stock received a $625,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, paid out over five years, for her work on immigration and national security. Stock spearheaded a military program to recruit skilled legal immigrants to fill critical positions, pushed the Pentagon to restore the historical practice of working to naturalize documented immigrant military recruits, and set up a program to provide free legal service to military families on deportation and other immigration issues.
Stock didn't specifically outline a proposal for immigration reform Tuesday, but said she has a lot of ideas. She called herself a "problem-solver."
"I think one of the things I do is bring a comprehensive perspective on the problem and what needs to be fixed," Stock said. "Not partisan bickering in Washington."