Sarah Palin

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Governor Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Heath Palin (pronounced pay'-lynn) (born February 11, 1964) is the conservative first-term Republican governor of Alaska. She is the youngest person to hold this honor as well as the first woman to do so in the state's history. Palin is Senator John McCain's Vice Presidential running mate in the 2008 Presidential Election.[1]

She brings a populist image and a record of cutting wasteful spending and reforming government to McCain's ticket. In the summer of 2007 she was the most popular governor in America, after cutting 13% of Alaska's budget.[2] She is strongly pro-life.

Married for 20 years, Sarah Palin's husband is a member of the United Steelworkers union and her eldest son (of five children) is in the United States Army, scheduled to go to Iraq. In an appearance on August 30, 2008 in Washington, Pennsylvania, she was greeted by a surprisingly large crowd as she promoted the new McCain-Palin ticket.

She earned her Journalism degree from the University of Idaho and worked in media and the utility industry before beginning her public service 14 years ago.

Personal Background

In this April 23, 2008 file photo, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, and her husband, Todd Palin, hold their baby boy Trig in Anchorage, Alaska.
Photo courtesy of

Palin arrived in Alaska with her family in 1964, when her parents came to teach school in Skagway. She received a bachelor of science degree in communications-journalism from the University of Idaho in 1987. Palin, who graduated from Wasilla High School in 1982, has lived in Skagway, Eagle River and Wasilla. She reports she entered beauty pageants to earn college money.

She is married to Todd Palin, part Yupik Eskimo, who is a lifelong Alaskan, works at a non-management union job in the oil industry and also as a commercial salmon fisherman. He is a four-time champion of the Iron Dog, the world's longest snowmobile race.

Sarah Palin is a Union member, a moose hunter and holds a membership in the NRA.[3] They have five children together: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig.

Palin has been highly regarded among conservatives for acting on her pro-life beliefs in the case of her youngest son, Trig, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome in the fourth month of her pregnancy. After researching the condition, she and her husband agreed to continue to pregnancy:

"[My husband Todd said,] we shouldn't be asking 'Why us?' We should be saying 'Well, why not us?' We've both been very vocal about being pro life. We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential. I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection. Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?" [2]

Trig was born on April 18, 2008, four months before his mother was announced as the vice-presidential candidate. Palin wrote:

"This new person in your life can help everyone put things in perspective and bind us together, and get everyone focused on what really matters ... Those who love him will think less about self and focus less on what the world tells [us] is 'normal' or 'perfect.'"[4]
"It's a sign of the times to be able to do this," she said. "I can think of so many male candidates who watched a families grow while they were in office. There is no reason to believe a woman can't do it with a growing family. My baby will not be at all or in any sense neglected."[5]

Palin's older son Track, serves in the U.S. Army, and may be deployed to Iraq this autumn. Palin says, "I'm proud of him but I worry."[4]

In September of 2008, Palin announced that her daughter Bristol was five months pregnant. Palin stated "We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents."[6].

Palin family members at the announcement of Palin's vice presidential selection, August 29, 2008. From left: Todd, Piper, Willow, Bristol, and Trig.

Political Career

Palin was elected to two terms on the Wasilla City Council, and then two terms as the Mayor / Manager of Alaska's fastest growing community (Population: 5400 in 2000)[7]. During her time as mayor, Palin hired a Washington lobbying firm to help secure $8 million in congressionally directed spending projects, otherwise known as earmarks.[8] Ms. Palin's leadership qualities were recognized when she was elected as President of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. In 2002, she ran for Lieutenant Governor, but came in second in a four-way race. Later that year, when Frank Murkowski resigned his Senate seat to become governor, she interviewed for the opening. Instead, Murkowski appointed his daughter to the seat. From there, she went on to run for governor and won, becoming the first female governor of Alaska and its youngest.

In 2003, then-Governor Mukowski appointed Palin to serve as Panel Ethics Commisioner of Alaska's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates Alaska's non-renewable resources: oil and gas. She resigned in 2004 as a protest over the "lack of ethics" of fellow panelists who had ignored her complaints of legal violations and conflicts of interest.

To help cultivate influence and political clout in the state, Palin served from 2003 - June, 2005 as one of three directors of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.", a 527 group that raised funds from corporate donors.[9] The stated purpose of the group is, "To increase the number of Republican women in elected offices and in appointed governmental and political positions, including advisory and regulatory commissions through training and education."[10]

She ran for Governor in 2006 on a clean government platform, and accomplished a political rarity in defeating the incumbent Governor Frank Murkowski in his own Republican primary. Palin went on to defeat former Governor Tony Knowles in the general election.

She has also served on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. She was named one of Alaska's "Top 40 Under 40", Alaska's Public Works "Person of the Year", and was recently inducted into the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society at Alaska Pacific University.

Palin has served on numerous boards and commissions throughout the State, and stays active as a marathon runner, sports team mom, hockey manager and school volunteer. A lifetime member of the NRA, she enjoys hunting, fishing, and Alaska history. [11]

In 2007, Palin's 18-year old son, Track, enlisted in the Army. [12]

I am pro-life and I believe that marriage should only be between and man and a woman. I am opposed to any expansion of gambling in Alaska. [13]

Record as Governor

Energy and Oil

A strong supporter of oil and natural gas resources, Palin presented the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) in March 2007, which would be the the new legal vehicle for building a natural gas pipeline from the state's North Slope.[14] It received bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Palin in June. In August of 2008 she signed legislation giving state authority to award TransCanada Corp a license to build and operate a multibillion-dollar pipeline to ship natural gas from the North Slope.[15] As Governor, Palin created a new subcabinet that will develop policies to reduce greenhouse gases and help the state adapt to climate change. She supports oil production in ANWR, connecting it with national security.[16]

In 2007, over the objections of oil companies, Palin worked with the Alaska state legislature to approve a major increase in taxes on the oil industry. [17] The state then gave Alaskans a $1200 check to pay for increased gas prices, using the increased revenues from the tax.[18]

State Economy

At first, Palin supported the Gravina Island Bridge Project, otherwise known as the "Bridge to Nowhere". In September 2006, during a stop in Ketchikan as part of her gubernatorial campaign, Palin stated, "OK, you've got Valley trash standing here in the middle of nowhere," Palin said, according to an account in the Ketchikan Daily News. "I think we're going to make a good team as we progress that bridge project."[19] The $398 million bridge would have connected Ketchikan, on one island in southeastern Alaska, to its airport on another nearby island. The Anchorage Daily News also quoted her in a October, 2006 article as saying yes, she would continue state funding for the bridge because she wanted swift action on infrastructure projects. "The window is now while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist," she said.[20] Palin announced her opposition to the project in a 2007 press release.

She has stated her opposition arose because of the excessive amount of pork-barrel spending in the project, and that she would not fund the $329 million that was short for the budget.[21] This reversal cost her the support of prominent Alaskan Republicans like Former state House Speaker Gail Phillips, who said, "You don't tell a group of Alaskans you support something and then go to someplace else and say you oppose it". Palin instead said that the best option would be to upgrade the ferry system. However, the money that was retained from the earmark was not used for the ferry system, but was spent building a road on Gravina Island that links to the site of the canceled bridge.[22]

Prominent Alaskan politicians criticize Palin for not "giving back" money earmarked for the project. These critic include her Republican campaign coordinator in Ketchikan, who stated that "She said 'thanks but no thanks,' but they kept the money".[23] However, state governments do not "give back" money in the manner proposed.

Three times during Palin's time as mayor, earmark funding for projects in Wasilla were noted in John McCain's list of "objectionable" spending. In 2001, McCain's list of spending approved without normal budget scrutiny identified a $500,000 earmark for a public transportation project in the city. In 2002, McCain noted a $1 million earmark for an emergency communications center, considered redundant according to local law enforcement. Also, $450,000 was set aside for an agricultural processing facility during Palin's time as mayor.[24]

Military Policy

Palin is Commander in Chief of the Alaska Army National Guard. In 2007 she visited troops in Germany and Kuwait.

Legislature Investigation

In August of 2008, the Alaska state legislature began an investigation of Palin and her staff for potential abuse of power in regards to a firing of Commissioner of Public Safety Walter Monegan. Monegan was dismissed from his position in July of 2008, which Palin's political opponents claim was due to Monegan's refusal to fire trooper Mike Wooten, Palin's former brother-in-law. However, "Walt Monegan when interviewed said that he was never told specifically by Sarah Palin to fire the state trooper Mike Wooten ...." Moreover, "Mike Wooten has had a history of breaking several laws and police department policies since December 2001 according to reports. One report was about Mike Wooten using a taser on his stepson, Sarah Palin's nephew Payton."[25]

Palin denies the charges. As is customary, the State of Alaska has hired a lawyer to represent her office in the investigation, and State's attorney released this statement:[26]

The governor of every state gets legal counsel and this attorney is part of a weeks-old effort to provide this governor defense in a series of outlandish politically motivated charges. This legal defense is neither new nor uncommon nor at all political. It is a matter of her job and is not recent and it is not related to her selection on the McCain-Palin ticket.

The final report was scheduled to be released on October 31st, four days before the election.[27] The release date has been moved up three weeks, and is now tentatively scheduled to be released on October 10th.[28]

Polar Bears

The state of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin announced May 21, 2008. She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state's northern and northwestern coasts. Palin argued that there is not enough evidence to support a listing. Polar bears are well-managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said, in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Vice Presidential Candidate

File:Repub. conv..jpg
Sarah Palin addresses the audience of the 2008 National Republican Convention.

On August 29, 2008, Palin was announced to be the Vice Presidential nominee for Republican Senator John McCain [29]. The selection was a surprise, as those in the media were expecting Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty or former Massachusetts's Governor Mitt Romney. Palin adds youth and executive experience to the ticket. She is the second female Vice Presidential candidate of a major party in U.S. history and the first one on a Republican ticket. The first was Geraldine Ferraro, who the Democratic Party put on the ticket under Walter Mondale in 1984.

Palin's speech before the Republican convention on Wednesday, September 3rd was watched by over 40 million people. She had as many people turn in to see her as watched Obama's acceptance speech on the final day of the Democratic convention. Palin has also been attacked by the press on a level not seen since Dan Quayle, although she ultimately handled it much better.

Democratic responses

In a possible problem for the Democratic ticket, a majority of the people believe that the press is trying to hurt Palin[30] and that type of unwarranted attack could backfire into more support for the McCain/Palin ticket especially with unaffiliated voters believing the press is purposely attacking Palin by a 49% to 32% margin.

Many Democrats have advised the Obama campaign to ignore Palin, fearing that emphasis on her inexperience will backfire against Obama himself.[31]

She will debate the Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden on October 2, 2008 Biden said he will be “unrelenting” in the debate, but will steer clear of personal attacks.[32]


Palin filled out a policy questionnaire for the Eagle Forum Alaska during her 2006 gubernatorial race. One question asked, "Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?" Palin responded, "Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support." Yet public schools still resist teaching abstinence and instead promote sexual behavior by teenagers.

Another question asked, "Are you offended by the phrase 'Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?" Palin replied, "Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me and I'll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance."

Liberals ignorant of the history of "under God" have tried to ridicule Palin's remark, even calling her an "idiot" for it.[33][34] In fact, the origin of the phrase "under God" is the General Orders of George Washington on July 2 and 9, 1776: "The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army" (July 2); "the peace and safety of the Country now depends, under God, solely on the success of our arms" (July 9).[35] George Washington was indeed a Founding Father. Many of the Founding Fathers were non-Christians, including Thomas Jefferson who stated "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter.". [36]

Palin also believes that Creationism should be taught alongside evolution in science classes, so students can decide for themselves what they want to believe. During the 2006 campaign for the Alaskan Governorship, Palin was answering a question from the moderator near the conclusion of Wednesday night's televised debate on KAKM Channel 7 when she said, "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both."[37] She later clarified her position by stating "I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum." She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum. As of September 2008 she has kept that pledge.

Church Life

Sarah Palin was baptized as a Roman Catholic and, at age 12, she was rebaptized in the Wasilla Assembly of God church. [38][39]

Palin attends the Wasilla Bible Church[40], an independent congregation,[41][42] when at home and the Juneau Christian Center when in Juneau as governor.[43]


  1. Acceptance Speech by Palin
  3. McCain Names Alaska Gov. Palin as Running Mate Fox News, August 29, 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 People Magazine
  5. Alaska governor balances newborn's needs, official duties [1]
  6. Palin says 17-year-old daughter is pregnant
  7. Wasilla Population and Demographics
  8. Palin backed 'bridge to nowhere' in 2006
  9. Palin Was a Director of Embattled Sen. Ted Stevens's 527 Group
  10. Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.
  11. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
  13. Source: Campaign website,, "Issues" Nov 7, 2006
  17. Windfall tax lets Alaska rake in billions from Big Oil
  18. Palin backed Alaskan windfalls-profit tax
  19. Palin touts stance on 'Bridge to Nowhere'
  20. Critics: Palin used 'Bridge to Nowhere' for gain
  22. Palin "bridge to nowhere" line angers many Alaskans
  23. Palin "bridge to nowhere" line angers many Alaskans
  24. McCain had criticized earmarks from Palin
  26. Palin hires attorney for Troopergate investigation
  27. 'October Surprise' Over Palin Investigation?
  28. Investigation into Palin Now on Fast Track
  31. Matt Coopoer, "Tips for Obama: Ignore Palin, Dis McCain," Sept. 5, 2008, Conde-Nast
  32. Fox News, Sept. 4, 2008
  34. The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892, and George Washington's phrase "under God" was added to it in June 1954.
  38. Decker, Cathleen and Michael Finnegan, (August 30, 2008). Palin has risen quickly from PTA to VP pick. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2008-08-30.
  39. Gorsk, Eric. "Evangelicals energized by McCain-Palin ticket", Associated Press, 2008-08-30. Retrieved on 2008-08-30. 
  40. Pepper, David. Regarding Governor Palin: A Letter from Pastor David Pepper. Church on the Rock. Retrieved on 2008-09-04.
  41. Wasilla Bible Church FAQ. Retrieved on 2008-09-05.
  42. Lisa Miller and Amanda Coyne. "A Visit to Palin's Church: Scripture and discretion on the program in Wasilla." Newsweek. Sept. 2, 2008.
  43. Statement Concerning Sarah Palin. Juneau Christian Center (2008-09-03). Retrieved on 2008-09-04.

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