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Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

Governor Sarah Palin
11th Governor of Alaska
Assumed office
December 4, 2006
Lieutenant Sean Parnell
Preceded by Frank Murkowski
Born February 11 1964 ( 1964-02-11) (age 44)
Sandpoint, Idaho
Political party Republican
Spouse Todd Palin
Residence Wasilla, Alaska
Alma mater University of Idaho
Profession Journalist
Religion Christian: Assemblies of God

Sarah Louise Heath Palin (IPA: /peɪlɪn/) (born February 11, 1964) is the current Governor of Alaska, and the presumptive 2008 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States.[1] She will be the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing the Republican Party and the second female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major political party. She will be the first politician from Alaska to be nominated for Vice President.

Palin was born in Idaho and raised in Alaska. In 1984, she was the runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant, receiving a scholarship that allowed her to attend the University of Idaho, where she received a degree in journalism. After working as a sports reporter at an Anchorage television station, Palin served two terms on the Wasilla, Alaska, City Council from 1992 to 1996, was elected mayor of Wasilla (population 5,470 in 2000) in 1996, and ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor in 2002. She was elected Governor of Alaska in 2006 by first defeating incumbent governor Frank Murkowski in the Republican primary, then former Democratic Alaskan governor Tony Knowles in the general election. She gained attention for publicizing ethical violations by state Republican Party leaders.[2]

* 1 Early life
* 2 Pre-gubernatorial political experience
* 3 Governorship
o 3.1 Energy policies
o 3.2 Social issues
o 3.3 Matanuska Maid Dairy closure
o 3.4 Budget
o 3.5 Commissioner dismissal
* 4 2008 Vice-presidential candidacy
* 5 Personal life
* 6 Electoral history
o 6.1 Election results
* 7 References
* 8 External links

[edit] Early life

Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, the daughter of Charles and Sally (Sheeran) Heath.[3] Her family moved to Alaska when she was an infant.[4] Charles Heath was a science teacher and track coach.[4] The Heaths were avid outdoors enthusiasts; Sarah and her father would sometimes wake at 3 a.m. to hunt moose before school, and the family regularly ran 5k and 10k races.[4]

Palin was the point guard and captain for the Wasilla High School Warriors, in Wasilla, Alaska, when they won the Alaska small-school basketball championship in 1982; she earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" because of her intense play.[4] She played the championship game despite a stress fracture in her ankle, hitting a critical free throw in the last seconds.[4] Palin, who was also the head of the school Fellowship of Christian Athletes, would lead the team in prayer before games.[4]

In 1984, after winning the Miss Wasilla contest][5] earlier that year, Palin finished second in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant which won her a scholarship to help pay her way through college.[4] In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and also won Miss Congeniality.

Palin holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Idaho where she also minored in politics.

She briefly worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations while also working as a commercial fisherman with her husband, Todd, her high school sweetheart.[4] One summer when she was working on Todd's fishing boat, the boat collided with a tender while she was holding onto the railing; Palin broke several fingers.[4]

[edit] Pre-gubernatorial political experience

Palin served two terms on the Wasilla City Council from 1992 to 1996. In 1996, she challenged and defeated the incumbent mayor, criticizing wasteful spending and high taxes.[4] The ex-mayor and sheriff tried to organize a recall campaign, but failed.[4] Palin kept her campaign promises by reducing her own salary, as well as reducing property taxes by 60%.[4] She ran for reelection against the former mayor in 1999, winning by an even larger margin.[4][6] Palin was also elected president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.[7]

In 2002, Palin made an unsuccessful bid for Lieutenant Governor, coming in second to Loren Leman in a four-way race. After Frank Murkowski resigned from his long-held U.S. Senate seat in mid-term to become governor, Palin interviewed to be his possible successor. Instead, Murkowski appointed his daughter, then-Alaska State Representative Lisa Murkowski.[4]

Governor Murkowski appointed Palin Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission,[8] where she served from 2003 to 2004 until resigning in protest over what she called the "lack of ethics" of fellow Alaskan Republican leaders, who ignored her whistleblowing complaints of legal violations and conflicts of interest.[4] After she resigned, she exposed the state Republican party's chairman, Randy Ruedrich, one of her fellow Oil & Gas commissioners, who was accused of doing work for the party on public time, and supplying a lobbyist with a sensitive e-mail.[9] Palin filed formal complaints against both Ruedrich and former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who both resigned; Ruedrich paid a record $12,000 fine.[4]

[edit] Governorship
Governor Palin visits a wounded soldier in Landstuhl, Germany, July 2007
Governor Palin visits a wounded soldier in Landstuhl, Germany, July 2007

In 2006, Palin, running on a clean-government campaign, executed an upset victory over then-Gov. Murkowski in the Republican gubernatorial primary.[4] Despite the lack of support from party leaders and being outspent by her Democratic opponent, she went on to win the general election in November 2006, defeating former Governor Tony Knowles.[4] Palin said in 2006 that education, public safety, and transportation would be three cornerstones of her administration.[10]

When elected, Palin became the first woman to be Alaska's governor, and the youngest governor in Alaskan history at 42 years of age upon taking office. Palin was also the first Alaskan governor born after Alaska achieved U.S. statehood. She was also the first Alaskan governor not to be inaugurated in Juneau, instead choosing to hold her inauguration ceremony in Fairbanks. She took office on December 4, 2006.

Highlights of Governor Palin's tenure include a successful push for an ethics bill, and also shelving pork-barrel projects supported by fellow Republicans. Palin successfully killed the Bridge to Nowhere project that had become a nationwide symbol of wasteful earmark spending.[11][12] "Alaska needs to be self-sufficient, she says, instead of relying heavily on 'federal dollars,' as the state does today."[13]

She has challenged the state's Republican leaders, helping to launch a campaign by Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell to unseat U.S. Congressman Don Young[14] and publicly challenging Senator Ted Stevens to come clean about the federal investigation into his financial dealings.[11]

In 2007, Palin had an approval rating often in the 90s.[13] A poll published by Hays Research on July 28, 2008 showed Palin's approval rating at 80%.[15]

[edit] Energy policies

Palin's tenure is noted for her independence from big oil companies, while still promoting resource development.[13][11] Palin has announced plans to create a new sub-cabinet group of advisors, to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within Alaska.[16]

Shortly after taking office, Palin rescinded thirty-five appointments made by Murkowski in the last hour of his administration, including the appointment by Murkowski of his former chief of staff Jim Clark to the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority.[17][18] Clark later pled guilty to conspiring with a defunct oil-field-services company to channel money into Frank Murkowski's re-election campaign.[19]

In March 2007, Palin presented the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) as the new legal vehicle for building a natural gas pipeline from the state's North Slope.[20] Only one legislator, Representative Ralph Samuels, voted against the measure,[21] and in June Palin signed it into law.[22][23] On January 5, 2008, Palin announced that a Canadian company, TransCanada Corp., was the sole AGIA-compliant applicant.[24][25]

In response to high oil and gas prices, and in response to the resulting state government budget surplus, Palin proposed giving Alaskans $100-a-month energy debit cards. She also proposed providing grants to electrical utilities so that they would reduce customers' rates.[26] She subsequently dropped the debit card proposal, and in its place she proposed to send Alaskans $1,200 directly and eliminate the gas tax.[27][28]

[edit] Social issues

Palin is strongly pro-life, a supporter of capital punishment,[29] and belongs to Feminists for Life.[10]

She opposes same-sex marriage, but she has stated that she has gay friends and is receptive to gay and lesbian concerns about discrimination.[10] While the previous administration did not implement same-sex benefits, Palin complied with an Alaskan state Supreme Court order and signed them into law.[30] She disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling[31] and supported a democratic advisory vote from the public on whether there should be a constitutional amendment on the matter.[32] Alaska was one of the first U.S. states to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage, in 1998, along with Hawaii.[33] Palin has stated that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment.[10]

Palin's first veto was used to block legislation that would have barred the state from granting benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In effect, her veto granted State of Alaska benefits to same-sex couples. The veto occurred after Palin consulted with Alaska's attorney general on the constitutionality of the legislation.[31]

[edit] Matanuska Maid Dairy closure

When the Alaska Creamery Board recommended closing Matanuska Maid Dairy, an unprofitable state-owned business, Palin objected, citing concern for the impact on dairy farmers and the fact that the dairy had just received $600,000 in state money. When Palin learned that only the Board of Agriculture and Conservation could appoint Creamery Board members, she simply replaced the entire membership of the Board of Agriculture and Conservation.[13][34] The new board, led by businesswoman Kristan Cole, reversed the decision to close the dairy.[34] The new board approved milk price increases offered by the dairy in an attempt to control fiscal losses, even though milk from Washington was already offered in Alaskan stores at lower prices.[35] In the end, the dairy was forced to close, and the state tried to sell the assets to pay off its debts but received no bids.[36][37]

[edit] Budget

In the first days of her administration, Palin followed through on a campaign promise to sell the Westwind II jet purchased (on a state government credit account) by the Murkowski administration. The state placed the jet for sale on eBay three times. In August 2007, the jet was sold for $2.1 million.[38]

Shortly after becoming governor, Palin canceled a contract for the construction on an 11-mile (18-kilometer) gravel road outside of Juneau to a mine. This reversed a decision made in the closing days or hours of the Murkowski Administration.[39]

In June 2007, Palin signed into law a $6.6 billion operating budget—the largest in Alaska's history.[40] At the same time, she used her veto power to make the second-largest cuts of the construction budget in state history. The $237 million in cuts represented over 300 local projects, and reduced the construction budget to nearly $1.6 billion.[41]

[edit] Commissioner dismissal

On July 11, 2008, Governor Palin dismissed Walter Monegan as Commissioner of Public Safety and instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he subsequently turned down.[42][43] Monegan alleged shortly after his dismissal that it may have been partly due to his reluctance to fire an Alaska State Trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin's sister, Molly McCann.[44] In 2006, before Palin was governor, Wooten was briefly suspended for ten days for threatening to kill McCann's (and Palin's) father, tasering his 11-year-old stepson (at the stepson's request), and violating game laws. After a union protest, the suspension was reduced to five days.[45]

Governor Palin asserts that her dismissal of Monegan was unrelated to the fact that he had not fired Wooten, and asserts that Monegan was instead dismissed for not adequately filling state trooper vacancies, and because he "did not turn out to be a team player on budgeting issues."[46] Palin acknowledges that a member of her administration, Frank Bailey, did contact the Department of Public Safety regarding Wooten, but both Palin and Bailey say that happened without her knowledge and was unrelated to her dismissal of Monegan.[46] Bailey was put on leave for two months for acting outside the scope of his authority as the Director of Boards and Commissions.

In response to Palin's statement that she had nothing to hide, in August 2008 the Alaska Legislature hired Steve Branchflower to investigate Palin and her staff for possible abuse of power surrounding the dismissal, though lawmakers acknowledge that "Monegan and other commissioners serve at will, meaning they can be fired by Palin at any time."[47] The investigation is being overseen by Democratic State Senator Hollis French, who says that the Palin administration has been cooperating and thus subpoenas are unnecessary.[48] The Palin administration itself was the first to release an audiotape of Bailey making inquiries about the status of the Wooten investigation.[46][49]

Wooten and the police union alleged that the governor had improperly released his employment files in his divorce case. However, McCann's attorney released a signed waiver from Wooten demonstrating that Wooten had authorized the release of his files through normal discovery procedures.[50][51]

[edit] 2008 Vice-presidential candidacy

Main article: John McCain presidential campaign, 2008
See also: Republican Party (United States) vice presidential candidates, 2008

On August 29, 2008, Palin was announced as John McCain's running mate.[1] Palin's selection surprised many Republican officials who had speculated about other candidates, such as Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, United States Senator Joseph Lieberman, and former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.[52]

[edit] Personal life

Palin's husband, Todd, is a Yup'ik Alaskan native.[4] Outside the fishing season, Todd works for BP energy corporation at an oil field on Alaska's North Slope[53] and is a champion snowmobiler, winning the 2000-mile "Iron Dog" race four times.[4] The two eloped shortly after Palin graduated from college; when they learned they needed witnesses for the civil ceremony, they recruited two residents from the old-age home down the street.[4] The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Anchorage.[54]

On September 11, 2007, the Palins' eighteen-year-old son Track, eldest of five, joined the Army.[54] He now serves in an infantry brigade and will be deployed to Iraq in September 2008. She also has three daughters: Bristol, 17; Willow, 13; and Piper, 7.[7]

On April 18, 2008, Palin gave birth to her second son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome.[55] She returned to the office three days after giving birth.[11] Palin refused to let the results of prenatal genetic testing change her decision to have the baby. "I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin said. "Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?"[11]

Details of Palin's personal life have contributed to her political image. She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane.[13][56] Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. She admits that she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but says that she did not like it.[10]

[edit] Electoral history

[edit] Election results
2006 Gubernatorial Election, Alaska
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Sarah Palin 114,697 48.33 -7.6
Democratic Tony Knowles 97,238 40.97 +0.3
Independent Andrew Halcro 22,443 9.46 n/a
Alaskan Independence Don Wright 1,285 0.54 -0.4
Libertarian Billy Toien 682 0.29 -0.2
Green David Massie 593 0.25 -1.0
Write-ins 384 0.16 +0.1
Majority 17,459 7.36
Turnout 238,307 51.1
Republican hold Swing 4.0
Alaska Republican Gubernatorial Primary Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Sarah Palin 51,443 50.59 n/a
Republican John Binkley 30,349 29.84 n/a
Republican Frank Murkowski, Incumbent 19,412 19.09 n/a
Republican Merica Hlatcu 211 0.21 n/a
Republican Gerald Heikes 280 0.28 n/a
Majority 21,094 20.75 n/a
Turnout 101,695 n/a n/a
2002 race for Lieutenant Governor (primary)[57]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Loren Leman 21,076 29% n/a
Republican Sarah Palin 19,114 27% n/a
Republican Robin Taylor 16,053 22% n/a
Republican Gail Phillips 13,804 19% n/a
Republican Paul Wieler 1,777 2% n/a

[edit] References

1. ^ a b "McCain picks Alaska governor as running mate" (2008-08-29). Retrieved on 2008-08-29.
2. ^ Kizzia, Tom (October 24, 2006). "Part 2: Rebel status has fueled front-runner's success". Anchorage Daily News.
3. ^ Ancestry of Sarah Palin by Robert Battle. Accessed 2008-08-26.
4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Johnson, Kaylene (2008). "Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down". Epicenter Press.
5. ^ [1]
6. ^ 2006 Campaign Tip Sheets: Alaska Governor
7. ^ a b ""About the Governor"". Biography. State of Alaska. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
8. ^ Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission - Homepage (Redirect)
9. ^ | front : Palin explains her actions in Ruedrich case
10. ^ a b c d e Hopkins, Kyle (August 6, 2006). "Same-sex unions, drugs get little play", Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
11. ^ a b c d e Quinn, Steve (2007-05-10). "Alaska governor balances newborn's needs, official duties". Associated Press.
12. ^ "'Bridge to nowhere' abandoned", Associated Press via CNN 2007-09-22.
13. ^ a b c d e Barnes, Fred (July 16, 2007). "The Most Popular Governor", The Weekly Standard. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
14. ^ Carlton, Jim. "Alaska's Palin Faces Probe" (2008-07-31).
15. ^ Alaska Statewide 'Opinion Counts' Survey Results, Retrieved on 2008-07-29
16. ^ Kizzia, Tom (April 12, 2007). "State aims to reduce emissions", Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
17. ^ "Palin Sacks Murkowski Crony Clark", Alaska Report (December 7, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
18. ^ Sutton, Anne (2006-12-06). "Palin to examine last-hour job blitz", Associated Press.
19. ^ Richard, Mauer; Sean Cockerham (2008-03-05). "Murkowski staff chief pleads guilty", Anchorage Daily News, The McClatchy Company. Retrieved on 2008-04-19.
20. ^ ""Governor Palin Unveils the AGIA"". News & Announcements. State of Alaska (March 2, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
21. ^ ""Palin to sign gas pipeline plan today"". News & Announcements. Alaska Legislature (June 6, 2007). Retrieved on 2008-02-26.
22. ^ ""Gov. Performs Ceremonial Signing of AGIA"". News & Announcements. State of Alaska (June 7, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
23. ^ ""Bill History/Action for 25th Legislature: HB 177"". BASIS. Alaska State Legislature (June 7, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
24. ^ Palin picks Canadian company for gas line: Gas Pipeline |
25. ^ | Alaska's news and information source | Canadian company meets AGIA requirements
26. ^ Cockerham, Sean. “Palin wants to give Alaskans $100 a month to use on energy”, Anchorage Daily News (2008-05-16).
27. ^ Cockerham, Sean.“Palin expected to drop energy debit card plan”, Anchorage Daily News (2008-06-18).
28. ^
29. ^ "PUBLIC SAFETY", Sarah on Issues, (November 7, 2006).
30. ^ McAllister, Bill (December 20, 2006). "Gay partners of state employees win benefits", KTUU News, KTUU-TV. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
31. ^ a b "Alaska governor won't block partner benefits", (December 29, 2006). Retrieved on 2008-07-31.
32. ^ Demer, Lisa (December 21, 2006). "Palin to comply on same-sex ruling", Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
33. ^ Vestal, Christine (March 1, 2007 (updateSeptember d 20, 2007)). "Gay marriage decisions ripe in 2 courts", Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
34. ^ a b Komarnitsky, S. J. (July 4, 2007). "State board votes to replace Mat Maid CEO", Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
35. ^ Komarnitsky, S. J. (July 10, 2007). "Creamery Board approves milk price increase for dairy farmers", Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
36. ^ Komarnitsky, S. J. (August 30, 2007). "State to put Mat Maid dairy up for sale", Anchorage Daily News.
37. ^ "State gets no bids for Matanuska Maid", Anchorage Daily News (December 8, 2007). Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
38. ^ ""Jet That Helped Defeat an Alaska Governor Is Sold"". The New York Times (August 25, 2007). Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
39. ^ | Alaska's news and information source | Palin cancels contracts for pioneer road to Juneau
40. ^ Shinohara, Rosemary (July 16, 2007). "No vetoes here", Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
41. ^
42. ^ Resources from Anchorage Daily News regarding the Monegan affair.
43. ^ Hopkins, Kyle (2008-07-12). "Governor offered Monegan a different job", Anchorage Daily News, The McClatchy Company. Retrieved on 2008-08-21.
44. ^ Hollan, Megan (2008-07-19). "Monegan says he was pressured to fire cop", Anchorage Daily News, The McClatchy Company. Retrieved on 2008-07-22. : "Monegan said he still isn't sure why he was fired but thought that Wooten could be part of it."
45. ^ Demer, Lisa. Is Wooten a good trooper?, Anchorage Daily News (2008-07-27).
46. ^ a b c Cockerham, Sean. “Palin staff pushed to have trooper fired”, Anchorage Daily News (2008-08-14). Retrieved 2008-08-24.
47. ^ Quinn, Steve. "Lawmakers formally call for investigation into Palin's Public Safety firing", Associated Press via Daily News-Miner (2008-07-28). Retrieved 2008-08-24.
48. ^ “Subpoenas uncalled for in Wooten matter”, Anchorage Daily News (2008-08-16). Retrieved 2008-08-24.
49. ^ Palin press release with audio of Bailey call
50. ^
51. ^
52. ^
53. ^ Ross, Mike (August 21, 2007). "Mr. Palin goes back to Prudhoe", KTUU-TV. Retrieved on 2008-07-19.
54. ^ a b Associated Press (September 13, 2007). "Alaska Gov.'s Son Enlists in Army",, WTOP-FM. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
55. ^ Alaska Superstation
56. ^ Arnold, Elizabeth. "Alaska's Governor Is Tough, Young — and a Woman",, National Public Radio. Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
57. ^ ""State of Alaska Primary Election - August 27, 2002: Official Results"". Division of Elections. The Office of Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell (September 18, 2002). Retrieved on 2007-12-27.

[edit] External links
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* Alaska Office of Governor Sarah Palin
* VPILF: Sarah Palin for Vice President website

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Those listed following the "/" are the party's vice presidential nominee
Other 2008 elections: House • Senate • Gubernatorial
NAME Palin, Sarah Heath
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Heath, Sarah Louise; Palin, Sarah Louise
SHORT DESCRIPTION Governor of Alaska
DATE OF BIRTH February 11, 1964
PLACE OF BIRTH Sandpoint, Idaho

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Hidden categories: NPOV disputes from August 2008 | All NPOV disputes | BLP watched articles

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