Janet Napolitano | Arizona: A Mountaineer on the Political Rise

A Mountaineer on the Political Rise

Governing a hard-core Republican state like Arizona is a steep proposition for a Democrat. Janet Napolitano likes the steeps. A former mountain climber who has hiked the Himalayas and summited Mount Kilimanjaro, Napolitano, 47, has pulled herself to the top job in Arizona--and many think she hasn't stopped climbing yet. Positioning herself as a no-nonsense, pro-business centrist, she has worked outside party lines since coming to office in January 2003 to re-energize a state that, under her predecessors, was marked by recession and scandal.

In her first week on the job, Napolitano took on the state's budget-deficit crisis. She presented a...