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Sarah Palin Profile - Biography of Sarah Palin


Sarah Palin Profile - Biography of Sarah Palin

Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin

© Mario Tama/Getty Images


Sarah Louise Heath Palin


Governor of Alaska - December 4, 2006-present
Named by 2008 Republican Presidential candidate John McCain as his choice for Vice President on August 29, 2008.
The first woman to appear on a GOP presidential ticket.


February 11, 1964 in Sandpoint, Idaho


Graduated Wasilla High School, Wasilla, Alaska in 1982.


Attended Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu. Studied business administration in fall 1982.
Attended North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene. General studies major in spring and fall 1983.
Attended University of Idaho. Studied journalism with an emphasis in broadcast news in fall 1984 and spring 1985.
Attended Matanuska-Susitna College in Palmer, Alaska. Fall 1985.
Attended University of Idaho. Spring 1986-spring 1987. B.S. in communications-journalism. Graduated spring 1987.

Family Background:

Born to Charles 'Chuck' and Sarah 'Sally' Heath as the third of four children, at three months of age Sarah moved with her family to Alaska where Chuck worked as a teacher in Skagway; Sally was a school secretary. After living in Skagway and Eagle River, the Heaths settled in Wasilla (an hour north of Anchorage) where Sarah grew up and where Chuck became the school's cross-country running coach. Her parents have stated they are not political and don't know where she came by her interest in politics.

Childhood & Early Influences:

Sarah's parents describe her as stubborn and hard-working even as a child. She was only two years old when her father says she became "hard to bend." Chuck admits, "We couldn't change her mind." Nonetheless, Sally took the children to Bible church and instilled a strong Christian faith in Sarah. That faith became more strongly rooted during her high school years as Sarah led the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. From her father, Sarah developed a love of hunting and shooting; she is a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association.

High School & College:

A high school athlete, Sarah ran cross country but regarded basketball as "a life changing experience." As co-captain and point guard she led Wasilla to a state championship in 1982. Her aggression and fierceness earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda."

Coached by a family friend, Sarah entered the Miss Wasilla beauty pageant, winning the contest and the title of Miss Congeniality. She was a runner-up for the Miss Alaska title.

Intending to become a sportscaster, she studied journalism and political science at the University of Idaho, graduating in 1987. In 1988, she married high school sweetheart Todd Palin.

Professional & Political Career:

Sarah has worked as a TV sportcaster in Achorage and as a commercial fisherman, helping her husband with the family business.

She first ran for public office in 1992 and won a spot on the Wasilla city council at age 28. In 1996, she became mayor of Wasilla, unseating a three-term incumbent. In 2002, she sought the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor and experienced her first political defeat. In 2003 she was appointed to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, but resigned, concerned over ethics violations. Running as an outsider on an ethics reform platform, she was elected governor in 2006.


Sarah Palin is pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-gun and supports oil drilling both offshore and in ANWR. She has publicly questioned whether global warming is man-made.

Her husband, Todd Palin, is an Alaska native whose grandmother was raised in a traditional Yup'ik Eskimo house. Employed for two decades in the oil industry, Todd is a production operator, a member of the United Steelworkers, a commercial fisherman, and a four-time winner of the Iron Dog snowmachine race (along the famous Iditarod Trail.) His wife has been known to call him "first dude."

Sarah's political views are consistent with her conservative Christian beliefs. The mother of four when she became governor in 2006, in December 2007 she was pregnant with her fifth child when prenatal testing revealed Down syndrome.

A member of Feminists for Life, Sarah did not consider abortion. She gave birth to Trig Paxson Van Palin on April 18, 2008; Trig is Norse and means "true" and "brave victory," and Paxson is a region in Alaska the couple favors. (Van Palin is a nod to the rock group Van Halen.)

The other Palin children have equally unique names. Son Track (18) is in the Army and will deploy to Iraq. Daughters, Bristol (17), Willow (13) and Piper (7) are in public schools.

The Anchorage Daily News has called Sarah Palin "the Joan of Arc of Alaska politics" and " one of the most popular local politicians in America." Anchorage radio host Dan Fagan says, "She's a hockey mom, she lives on a lake, she ice fishes, she snowmobiles, she hunts...she has a float plane," and in his opinion, "she's as Alaskan as you can get."

Updated August 30, 2008


Almanac: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), NationalJournal.com, retrieved 30 August 2008.
Barnes, Fred. "The Most Popular Governor." The Weekly Standard, 16 July 2007.
Geneaology of Sarah Heath Palin, Ancestry.com, retrieved 30 August 2008.
Governor Palin's Biography, State of Alaska website, retrieved 30 August 2008.
Kizzia, Tom. "Wasilla mayor was groomed from an early political age." Anchorage Daily News, 23 October 2006.
Kizzia, Tom. "Gov. Sarah Palin: A biography." Anchorage Daily News, 29 August 2008.
Malcolm, Andrew. "John McCain picks Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin as his VP." Los Angeles Times Blogs, 29 August 2008.
Quinn, Steve. "Alaska governor balances newborn's needs, official duties." USA Today, 10 May 2008.
Quinn, Steve and Calvin Woodward. "McCain's veep choice is historic and hardly known." Rockford Register Star, 30 August 2008.

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