Biography – Who is Sarah Palin

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John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin’s full name is Sarah Louise Heath Palin. Sarah Palin was born February 11, 1964 as Sarah Louise Heath in Sandpoint, Idaho. Sarah was the third of four children of Sarah Heath (maiden name Sheeran), who was a teacher (elementary school ) and a secretary at the same school, and Charles R. Heath, who was a science teacher and track coach.

Sarah Palin moved to Wasilla, Alaska (where she is now the Governor of Alaska since 2006) when she was three months old. Sarah Palin was always very active and into the outdoors. As a child, she would sometimes go moose hunting with her father before school, and the family regularly ran 5km and 10km races. Sarah Palin was originally baptized as a Roman Catholic, but her parents switched to the Wasilla Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church. Sarah Palin where she was rebaptized at the Wasilla Assembly of God at age 13, and attended under pastor Ed Kalnins until 2002.

Sarah Palin attended Wasilla High School in Wasilla, Alaska. During her tenure at Wasilla High School, Sarah Palin was the head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at the school, and also the point guard and captain of the school’s basketball team. One notable story told about Sarah Palin while she was at high school was the hit a critical free throw in the last seconds of the game, despite having an ankle stress fracture. This shot helped the team win the Alaska small-school basketball championship in 1982. During high school, Sarah Palin earned the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” because of her intense play, and was always the leader of the team prayer before games.

In 1984, Sarah Palin won the Miss Wasilla Pageant and followed it up by then finishing second in the Miss Alaska pageant. As a result of her second place finish in the pageant she won a college scholarship and the “Miss Congeniality” award.

Sarah Palin spent her first college semester at Hawaii Pacific College, transferring in 1983 to North Idaho College and then to the University of Idaho. She attended Matanuska-Susitna College in Alaska for one term, returning to the University of Idaho to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in communications-journalism, graduating in 1987.

Sarah’s dream was always to be a sports reporter. In 1988, she worked as a sports reporter for KTUU-TV in Anchorage, Alaska. She was offered a job at ESPN but she declined because it would have meant leaving Alaska. Sarah Palin eloped with her high-school boyfriend, Todd Palin, on August 29, 1988, when she was 24 years old. (Todd works for BP as an oil-field production operator and owns a commercial fishing business.) Sarah Palin has also helped in her husband’s family commercial fishing business.

Sarah Palin’s first son, Track Palin was born in 1989 and her second child Bristol Palin was born in 1990. Sarah Palin was unhappy with her childen’s education, so she became active on their school’s PTA (parent teacher association). Sarah Palin calls this start of her career in public service.

Soon after joinig the PTA, Sarah Palin began her political career in 1992, when she ran for a three-year term on the Wasilla city council, supporting a controversial new sales tax and advocating “a safer, more progressive Wasilla.” She won, and was re-elected to a second three-year term in 1995. (Wasilla is a city of 7,025 that is 42 miles) north of the largest Alaskan city the port of Anchorage.)

In 1996, Sarah Palin challenged and defeated incumbent Republican mayor John Stein for the office of mayor of Wasilla. During the campaign, Sarah Palin criticized Stein for what she called wasteful spending and high taxes, and highlighted issues such as abortion, religion and gun control which are hot ticket items in Conservative Alaska. Though officially the position of mayor is non-partisan, the state Republican Party ran advertisements on her behalf. During her first term, the Alaskan state Republican Party began grooming her for higher state office.

As mayor of Wasilla, Palin was in charge of the city Police Department, consisting of 25 officers, and Public Works. Sarah Palin was praised for cutting property taxes by 40% while still improving roads and sewers and boosting the Police Department. In a show of selflessness, Sarah Palin first reduced the mayoral salary, before reducing spending on the town museum, and she also opposed a bigger library. In order to pay for the new Wasilla Multi-Use Sports Complex, Mayor Sarah Palin increased the city sales tax

In 1999, Sarah Palin ran for re-election against John Stein who she has beaten in 1996. Sarah Palin was returned to office by a margin of 909 to 292 votes. That year, Sarah Palin was also elected president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.

After serving in the mayors office since 1996, term limits prevented Sarah Palin from running for a third term as Mayor in 2002.

In 2002, Sarah Palin made an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor. She came in second to Loren Leman in a five-way race in the Republican primary.

Frank Murkowski was elected governor of Alaska in 2002 after he resigned from his long-held U.S. Senate seat. At the time, Frank Murkowski considered appointing Sarag Palin to replace him in the Senate as Frank Murkowski had resigned mid-term. However, he instead chose his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, who was then an Alaska state representative.

Governor Frank Murkowski appointed Sarah Palin to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, where she chaired the Commission from 2003 to 2004, and also served as Ethics Supervisor. Sarah Palin resigned in January 2004 in protest over what she called the “lack of ethics” of fellow Republican members.

After resigning, Sarah Palin filed formal complaints against the state Republican Party’s chairman, Randy Ruedrich, and former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes. Sarah Palin accused Ruedrich, one of her fellow commissioners, of doing work for the party on public time and working closely with a company he was supposed to be regulating. Ruedrich and Renkes both resigned and Ruedrich paid a record $12,000 fine. Randy Ruedrich has since returned to that office.
Sarah Palin served as one of three directors of “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,” a 527 group that was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in Alaska, From 2003 to June 2005.

In 2006, running on a clean-government platform, Sarah Palin defeated her former mentor then-Governor Frank Murkowski in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Her running mate was State Senator Sean Parnell. Senator Ted Stevens made a last-moment endorsement and filmed a TV commercial together with Sarah Palin for the gubernatorial campaign.

In August 2006, Sarah Palin declared that education, public safety, and transportation would be the three cornerstones of her administration. Despite spending less than her Democratic opponent, she won the gubernatorial election in November, defeating former Governor Tony Knowles 48.3% to 40.9%.

At age 42, Sarah Palin became Alaska’s first female governor and, the youngest in Alaskan history. She is the first Alaskan governor born after Alaska achieved U.S. statehood and the first governor not inaugurated in Juneau; she chose to have the ceremony in Fairbanks instead. She took office on December 4, 2006, and has maintained a high approval rating throughout her term. She has had periods of 90% approval rating, however that rate has since declined to an extremely respectable 76%.

On many occasions Sarah Palin broke with the state Republican establishment. For example, she endorsed Parnell’s bid to unseat the state’s longtime at-large U.S. Representative, Don Young. Sarah Palin has also publicly challenged Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens to come clean about the ongoing federal investigation into his financial dealings. Shortly before Ted Steven’s July 2008 indictment, she held a joint news conference with Ted Stevens, to show that she had not abandoned him politically.

Sarah Palin has strongly promoted oil and natural gas resource development in Alaska, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (know as ANWR), where such development has been the subject of a national debate. She also helped pass the type of windfall tax increase on oil company profits sought by Barack Obama. Sarah Palin has followed through on plans to create a new sub-cabinet group of advisers to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within Alaska.

In March 2007, Sarah 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. This negated a deal by the previous governor to grant the contract to a coalition including BP (her husband’s former employer). Only one legislator, Representative Ralph Samuels, voted against the measure, and in June, Sarag Palin signed it into law. On January 5, 2008, Palin announced that a Canadian company, TransCanada Corporation, was the sole AGIA-compliant applicant. In August 2008, Palin signed a bill into law giving the state of Alaska authority to award TransCanada Pipelines $500 million in seed money and a license to build and operate the $26-billion pipeline to transport natural gas from the North Slope to the Lower 48 through Canada.

In response to high oil and gas prices, and the resulting state government budget surplus, SarahPalin proposed giving Alaskans $100-a-month energy debit cards. She also proposed providing grants to electrical utilities so that they would reduce customers’ rates. When the debit card idea failed, Sarah Palin proposed sending to each Alaskan $1,200 from the windfall surplus resulting from high oil prices.

In 2007, Sarah Palin supported the Alaska Department of Fish and Game policy allowing Alaska state biologists to hunt wolves from helicopters as part of a predator control program intended to increase moose populations. The program was criticized by Defenders of Wildlife and predator control opponents, and prompted California State Representative George Miller to introduce a federal bill (H.R. 3663) seeking to make the practice illegal. In March 2008, a federal judge in Alaska upheld the practice of hunting wolves from the air, though limited its extent. On August 26, 2008, Alaskans voted against ending the state’s predator control program.

Shortly after becoming governor, Sarah Palin canceled a contract for the construction of an 11-mile (18 km) gravel road outside Juneau to a mine. This reversed a decision made in the closing days of the Murkowski administration. She also followed through on a campaign promise to sell the Westwind II jet purchased (on a state government credit account, against the wishes of the Legislature) by the Murkowski administration for $2.7 million in 2005. In August 2007 the jet was listed on eBay, though with no buyer found, it was later sold for $2.1 million through a private brokerage firm.

In June 2007, Sarah Palin signed into law a $6.6 billion operating budget—the largest in Alaska’s history. 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.

The famous congressional earmark called the Bridge to Nowhere was what brought national attention to Governor Sarah Palin. The background of the Bridge to Nowhere is this: In 2006, Ketchikan’s Gravina Island Bridge, a bridge serving a small island with out many people became an issue in the gubernatorial campaign. Sarah Palin initially expressed support for the bridge and ran on a “build-the-bridge” platform, arguing that it was essential for local prosperity. After the bridge became a large national political issue; Sarah Palin’s subsequent policy was to continue construction on the road originally intended to link to the bridge while exploring less-expensive transportation between Ketchikan and Gravina Island such as ferries or planes.

Sarah Palin made national news when she stopped work on the bridge to nowhere. Reuters said the move was responsible for “earning her admirers from earmark critics and budget hawks from around the nation. The move also thrust her into the spotlight as a reform-minded newcomer.”
On August 29, 2008, in Dayton, Ohio, Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, announced that he had chosen Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate for the 2008 presidential election. John McCain declared that he had found the maverick in Alaska. Traditionally John McCain was known as a Maverick and he was likely looking for a running mate similar to himself.

With this in mind, John McCain called Sarah Palin on August 24th 2008 to discuss the possibility of having her join him on the ticket. Sarah Palin had been under consideration since a private meeting with John McCain in a February National Governors Association meeting. Although this was the first time the two had met, Sarah Palin made a favorable impression on McCain. On August 27, Sarah Palin visited McCain’s vacation home near Sedona, Arizona, where she was offered the position of vice-presidential candidate.

On September 3, 2008, Sarah Palin accepted the vice presidential nomination in a 40 minute acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention that was seen by more than 40 million people on television.

Source: Wikipedia, Newsweek, ABC News, CNN, FOX

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