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article imageHappy Birthday, Sarah Palin

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 11, 2009 in Politics
Today is Sarah Palin’s birthday. She just turned 45. It has been quite a year for her. She was the Vice Presidential Candidate on the ticket with John McCain in his bid for the Presidency. She remains in the public eye and has had quite a ride.
Sarah Palin grew up in a small town. Her parents were white-collar people; her father a teacher, her mother a school secretary. She was raised in Wasilla, Alaska, where she later became Mayor. In school she was on the basketball team and was known for being athletic with a strong personality. From Wasilla, she went on to get her degree in journalism with Political Science coursework as well. She attended four colleges before getting her degree at the University of Idaho. She also became a beauty queen, representing Wasilla in the pageant for Miss Alaska, which she lost to an African American contestant.
Before venturing into politics Palin worked as a sports reporter as Sarah Heath, for KTUU, an affiliate of NBC in Anchorage, Alaska. (Hirsen)
Hunting, fishing, and both winter and summer sports dominated much of Sarah Palin’s experience with her family. Killing animals was part of family life, something she did with her father. She talks about her favorite meal as moose meat stew.
Palin married Todd Palin in 1988, a young man she knew in high school. He has been commercial fisherman, oil production worker, and a member of one of the trade unions. He further is an Alaskan Native with a part-Eskimo background. Like Sarah Palin, her husband Todd is a sports enthusiast and won the Iron Dog, a 2000 mile snow machine race from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks, four times. There was conjecture on the part of some website pundits that Sarah and Todd married shotgun style because their son, Track, born less than eight months later, had been conceived before the wedding. Others suggested that Track was simply born early.
Todd and Sarah Palin now have five children: a son Track, age 19, who is going to Iraq at this writing, three daughters, Bristol, Willow and Piper, and a son, Trig, a disabled child with Down syndrome, who was born in April of 2008.
Sarah Palin ventured into politics by joining the City Council of Wasilla in 1992. Later she ran as the mayor, proclaiming that she would change things. The budget increased during her administration because of increased revenues that had come in from commercial ventures in the area, however when Palin left office there was a lot of debt left.
After serving as Mayor for six years, Palin ran for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, coming in second for the position. It was then that she fought with the Republican Party Chairman over ethical issues involved in the oil and gas industry, and with an individual by the name of Randy Ruederich, who had been appointed by Governor Frank Murkowski, the Republican she later defeated in the race for Governor. Later Palin clashed with the attorney general under Murkowski, Gregg Rehnke, who resigned after what Palin labeled as conflict-of-interest. (USA Today, 2005) Palin was elected as Governor of Alaska in 2006 in a three-way race that included Murkowski and then former Democratic Governor Tony Knowles. She was supported by grassroots people as opposed to the in-crowd of the political party. Social conservatives formed the base of her strong support, according to newspaper accounts.
On the issues, Palin has raised oil taxes and backed ethics reform legislation. That gave her a clean image with voters which was muddied over charges that she tried to get an Alaska state trooper fired. The trooper, Mike Wooten, had been married to one of Palin’s sisters and allegedly threatened Palin’s father and used a Taser on his ten-year-old stepson. Although Wooten admitted that he had made mistakes during his difficult divorce with Palin’s sister, he denied drinking while on duty, which was one of the accusations that had been made about him. Palin was reprimanded but not held guilty of substantially violating anything related to her office as Governor.
Palin hasn’t had an easy time being Governor of Alaska. Although she was declared as very popular there by the national media, she has been criticized by fellow Republicans in Alaska for being naïve and reckless, particularly in the way that she has dealt with the oil industry, according to the reports from Alaska newspapers. These Alaska papers write that many Republicans consider Palin a person without sufficient intellectual prowess to perform as Governor. (Kizzia) Nevertheless, she has been a popular Governor, although controversial, since the State coffers of Alaska have increased with the rising costs of fuel. (Scheer)
Palin’s family origins and life story so far mirrors that of many American women from small towns, except Palin has reached the top posts that have been difficult for women to obtain. One can’t help admiring someone who has made such an achievement, and what will happen in her future is open to speculation.
References:
Hirsen, James, ""Sarah Palin's Journalist Experience Gives Mainstream Media the Jitters," Politics, 2 Sept. 2008,
Kizzia, Tom, "The Joan of Arc of Politics" Politico, 29 August 2009
Scheer, Robert, "Palin's Alaska Reaps the Profits McCain Decries, Robert Scheer's Columns, 2 Sept. 2008, Truth Digg
"Sarah Palin on the Issues," 2008 Presidential Candidates 2008, 23 September 2008
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