Born on February 11, 1964, in Sandpoint, Idaho. Sarah Palin (Sarah Louise Heath) moved to Alaska with her family at the age of three months when her father took a teaching position in Skagway, Alaska, before eventually settling in Wasilla. A graduate of Wasilla High School, Palin was the co-captain and point guard of Wasilla’s 1982 state championship women’s basketball team. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in communications-journalism from the University of Idaho in 1987.
Palin is the author of The New York Times best-selling books Going Rogue: An American Life (November 2009), America by Heart (November 2010), and Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas (November 2013). She was named to TIME magazine’s 2010 “100 Most Influential People in the World” list, the Smithsonian Institutes’s “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” and Barbara Walter’s “Ten Most Fascinating People” list two years in a row. She was the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute’s 2012 Woman of the Year. She was also the host of the 8-week documentary series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” on TLC and the show “Amazing America” on the Sportsman Channel.
Sarah Palin first made history on December 4, 2006, when she was sworn in as the first female and youngest governor of Alaska. In August 2008, Senator John McCain tapped Palin to serve as his vice-presidential running mate in his presidential campaign, making her the first woman to run on the Republican Party’s presidential ticket.
In Alaska, her top priorities included fiscal restraint, limiting the size of government, resource development, education, equitable oil valuation, and transportation and infrastructure development. Palin fought for ethics reform and transparency in government.
Palin has a long record of achievement and experience in public office. Prior to her election as governor, she served two terms on the Wasilla City Council and two terms as the mayor of Wasilla. During her tenure, she reduced property tax levels while increasing services and made Wasilla a business-friendly environment, drawing in new industry and making it the fastest growing city in Alaska. She was elected President of Alaska’s Conference of Mayors.
Under her leadership as governor, Alaska invested $5 billion in state savings, overhauled education funding, reformed the state’s employee pension program, and protected Alaska’s natural resources. She created Alaska’s Petroleum Systems Integrity Office to provide oversight and maintenance of oil and gas equipment, facilities, and infrastructure.
A proven fiscal hawk, Palin cut state spending by nearly 10% while also reducing federal earmark requests by more than 80%. She used her line-item veto to cut more than a quarter billion in wasteful spending—the largest veto cuts in the state’s history.
During Palin’s first year in office, three of her administration’s major proposed pieces of legislation passed—an overhaul of the state’s ethics laws, a competitive process to construct a natural gas pipeline, and a restructuring of Alaska’s oil valuation formula.
To eliminate waste and make government more accountable and transparent, Palin sold the governor’s private jet, eliminated the governor’s private chef, increased accessibility to the governor’s office, and put the state’s checkbook online.
Palin is past chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multistate government agency that promotes the conservation and efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas resources while protecting health, safety, and the environment. She also served as chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) Natural Resources Committee, which was charged with pursuing legislation to ensure state needs are considered as federal policy is formulated in the areas of agriculture, energy, environmental protection, and natural resource management.
An internationally sought speaker and conservative leader, Palin is an influential force in the national debate. Her endorsement and support from her political action committee, SarahPAC, remain the gold standard for conservative candidates every election cycle.
She is married to Todd Palin, a lifelong Alaskan, who worked as a production operator on the North Slope and is a four-time champion of the Iron Dog, the world’s longest snowmachine race. They have five children and four grandchildren. The Palins are commercial fishermen in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. They enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, road trips, running, kids’ sports, and everything in the Great Outdoors.
Sarah Palin and John McCain
Sarah Louise Heath was tapped as Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s running mate, making her the first in her party to achieve that feat. After resigning as Alaska governor in 2009, Palin went on to serve as a contributor for Fox News, wrote multiple books and launched her own online news channel.
He formally introduced her during a campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio, and was nominated on September 4 at the Republican National Convention. With her nomination, Palin became the second woman to run for Vice President on a U.S. major party ticket, and the first Republican female to do so. Addressing the party’s convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 3, Palin depicted herself as “just your average hockey mom,” joking that the “only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick.”
In her first nationally televised interview after she was named as McCain’s running mate, Palin told ABC’s Charles Gibson that she didn’t hesitate when asked to join the ticket, and she felt prepared to run the country if necessary. “I’m ready,” Palin. “I answered him ‘yes’ because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can’t blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we’re on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can’t blink.”
Palin’s interview was placed under intense scrutiny, and the candidate received mixed reviews by political pundits. Of particular concern was Palin’s foreign policy experience, and her ability to take over as president should anything happen to McCain. The Washington Post found her comments “strikingly devoid of the diplomatic language generally used by U.S. officials when discussing relations with Russia.” This criticism only deepened when, during an interview in Fairbanks, Alaska, Palin acknowledged that she had never met a leader of a foreign country and that she had visited only Canada and Mexico before a 2007 trip to Kuwait and Germany to visit U.S. troops.
The Los Angeles Times pointed out that Palin also reversed her stance on climate change, when she said “I believe that man’s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change … Regardless of the reason for climate change, whether it’s entirely, wholly caused by man’s activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet—the warming and the cooling trends—regardless of that, John McCain and I agree that we gotta do something about it, and we have to make sure that we’re doing all we can to cut down on pollution.” But “less than a year ago, she said the opposite,” the Times said. She cited her involvement in energy issues in oil-rich Alaska as a national security credential and added that she saw energy as a foundation of national security. On the issue of energy, Palin renewed her support for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, despite McCain’s opposition. But she appeared to do a sharp turn toward McCain’s view on the role humans play in climate change.
There was additional concern that she didn’t know enough about government policies when she failed to understand a question about the Bush Doctrine, a phrase commonly used to describe the foreign policy of the Bush administration. “Granted, this might not be something that your average hockey mom would know,” The New York Times later commented, “but it probably is something that a commander-in-chief-in-waiting might have considered.”
McCain and Palin lost the 2008 presidential election, and Palin returned to her home state of Alaska. While she resumed her duties as governor, she remained active on the national political stage. Palin formed SarahPAC, her own political action committee, in January 2009. That July, Sarah Palin announced her resignation as governor and fueled speculation that she planned to run for president in 2012. She cited the ethics complaints, a series of financially draining lawsuits and a desire not to become a lame duck governor as a few of the many reasons for her resignation.
Shortly after leaving office, Palin published her autobiography, Going Rogue: An American Life (2010). The book became an instant success, selling more than two million copies. That same year, she signed a long-term contract to be a political commentator for the Fox News Channel and penned a deal for her own television show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, on the TLC network. The reality show, which chronicled Palin’s travels through the Alaska wilderness, garnered 5 million viewers—a record number for the network. Despite the show’s popularity, TLC announced that they would not be renewing Palin’s contract for a second season. This renewed speculation that Palin planned to run for President in 2012.
After she stepped down from political office, Palin became associated with the Tea Party movement, a generally conservative and libertarian group that endorsed reduced government spending, lower taxes and a closer adherence to the original U.S. Constitution. She endorsed a handful of successful Tea Party candidates in the 2010 midterm elections, and also launched the “Pink Elephant Movement”, which she started as a way to endorse female GOP candidates.
Palin authored a second book, America by Heart, which was released in November 2010. Three years later, she debuted her next work, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.
In 2014, the longtime Fox News contributor launched her own media outlet, The Sarah Palin Channel, an online venture that allowed subscribers to read articles and see videos from her. However, the subscription service lasted only one year, and the former governor reverted to posting videos on SarahPac.com and her Facebook page.
Palin returned to the news in 2016 for her support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The following year, she unsuccessfully attempted to sue The New York Times over an earlier op-ed that had accused her of inciting the 2011 shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Her family affairs also reentered the picture when her oldest son, Track, was twice arrested for domestic violence charges during this period.
In 2018, just before the launch of Sacha Baron Cohen’s new Showtime mock interview program, Who Is America?, Palin surfaced to blast the actor for attempting to deceive her by posting as a wounded U.S. serviceman. Cohen and the network disputed her account of events, and Showtime later axed her segment from its scheduled episode.
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