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.
Born in Sandpoint, Idaho, Palin 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 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.
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 two 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.