Sarah Palin—Former Governor of Alaska

by Kristine Bigcas

These include allowing for the state to pay legal costs for officials cleared of ethics violations; allowing for a family member of the governor or lieutenant governor to travel at state cost in certain circumstances and allowing an immediate family member to use an official’s state-issued cell phone or BlackBerry if the usage is limited or under monthly or unlimited plans. Sarah Palin is a former Republican vice presidential candidate and was the ninth governor of Alaska until 2009. She partnered with John McCain in the 2008 elections but their tandem lost to President Obama. She is also a commentator and an author aside from her political stints. She has been recognized as the first Alaskan politician to enter the national lineup of a major political party let alone the first woman to serve as the Republican vice presidential candidate.

She entered politics in 1992 as a member of the Wasilla City Council before becoming the mayor in 1996. After her end of her term in 2002, she then served as the Chair on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. In December 2006, she started office as the 9th governor of Alaska. However, she chose not to continue her time by rendering her resignation two and a half years through her 4-year term. She was officially out from the position on July 26, 2009, after the official turnover of power to Lieutenant Sean Parnell.

After her resignation, she has remained a significant person in politics. She campaigned for the Tea Party movement and some candidates of the 2010 midterm election, even calling herself Mama Grizzly. She also actively campaigned for incumbent president Donald Trump. Apart from activities in politics, she has also explored her luck in television with Amazing America with Sarah Palin and Sarah Palin Channel.

Early Life and Heath Family

She was born Sarah Louise Heath on February 11, 1964. She was the youngest daughter but third of the four children of Sarah “Sally” Sheeran and Charles “Chuck” Heath. They come from a family of Irish, German, and English. Her mother used to work as a school secretary while her father was a science teacher and a sports coach for track and field. Due to her father’s job, they moved from his birth land of Sandpoint, Idaho, to Skagway, Alaska, and eventually to Eagle River in 1969. They permanently stayed in Wasilla, Alaska, in 1972. Growing up with her were her siblings: Chuck Jr., Heather, and Molly.

The Heath family were Catholics and Sarah herself was raised as one. In her later years, she and her family have joined the Wasilla Assembly of God church until 2002. She then made her choice of joining the Wasilla Bible Church. Although, she said when she ran for the position of Vice President of the United States of America, she called herself a “Bible-believing Christian.”

Education

She studied at Wasilla High School and played the flute in her junior high band. She was also the head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Aside from music, she was active in sports as well. She co-captained the basketball team while playing as the point guard. She led their victory in the 1982 Alaska state championship where she earned her nickname “Sarah Barracuda.” Two years after the basketball tournament, she joined the Miss Wasilla beauty pageant where she won the title of Miss Wasilla 1984 but failed to get the Miss Alaska title, ending up in the third place. Nonetheless, she received a college scholarship as a part of her prize. It is also said that she received a Miss Congeniality award but it was allegedly disputed by one of her classmates and another contestant. She graduated from Wasilla High School in 1982.

For college, she first got into the University of Hawaii at Hilo shortly after she graduated high school. But not long after, she transferred to Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu then to the North Idaho College. On Spring of 1983, she studied at the community college in Coeur d’Alene for two semesters before she moved to the University of Idaho in August 1984. In the fall of 1985, she transferred to Matanuska-Susitna College in Alaska and returned to the University of Idaho in January 1986 where she finally completed her degree in communications with a major in journalism in May 1987. Despite not completing her education at the North Idaho College, she was still given the recognition of Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award by their Alumni Association in June 2008.

Personal Life and Palin Family

Sarah married Todd Palin on August 29, 1988. Together they have five children and three grandchildren. Their eldest child is Track CJ born in 1989 who enlisted in the United States Army and was deployed to Iraq on September 11, 2008, followed by their eldest daughter Bristol Sheeran Marie in 1990. She is also an active spokesperson just like her mother. After her is Willow Bianca Faye born in 1994, Piper Indi Grace in 2001, and Trig Paxson Van who was born with Down Syndrome in 2008.

In 2014, her family was involved in a public brawl. It was reported that the ex-boyfriend of Willow started the fight. It happened in South Anchorage, Alaska, and even the patriarch of the family was involved. At the end of the altercation, Track has had four cracked ribs and Todd had a bloody nose. Neither side chose to file a case in court.

Todd Palin

He is the husband of Sarah who is born on September 6, 1964. He is an Alaskan-born oil field production operator and a commercial fisherman. He is also a graduate of the Wasilla High School in 1982. He went to college but never finished his degree after eloping with Sarah.

He is a member of the United Steelworkers union and has worked in the North Slope oil fields for about eighteen years until his leave in 2007 when Sarah sat in the gubernatorial seat. He returned seven months later due to the need of income but in a lower position this time around to avoid any conflict of interest. He officially resigned on September 18, 2009, as he wished to stay with his family more.

During the time of service of Sarah, Todd played an important role in the decisions she made. This can be seen in the 1,200 emails that were released by the state of Alaska. The 3,000-page worth of content were messages from him and other head of states, which discussed different issues that affected the state in general.

His hobbies include racing in snow mobiles in the Tesoro Iron Dog Championships. He always played since 1993 and had earned the first place for several times. However, in March 2016, he was injured severely after getting in an accident. He was in the intensive care unit for two straight weeks but recovered through time. In an official statement from Sarah’s Facebook page, she posted,

So grateful for your prayers and support during Todd’s recovery! He’s in a good place—on the couch—insisting if there’s any good season for injury, it’s now.

“March Madness is a great distraction,” Todd reports. “And catching up on ‘Deadliest Catch’ and ‘Bering Sea Gold’ episodes is some awesome motivational therapy. I can’t wait to get on Bristol Bay waters and pick fish with the family!”

In our 35 years, I’ve never seen the guy have to literally hold still, sit down, and take a (winced) breath. And I’ve never seen Todd so touched by the kindness shown during difficult days.

“It’s overwhelming and I’m not worthy of these well-wishes,” he said. “I wish I could repay people for caring. Makes me want to do more for others, especially when they’re down and out. Maybe that’s part of the purpose in all this.”

It IS overwhelming, friends’ goodness permeating the situation. Todd is always, always doing what he can for others, and rooting for anyone going through life’s trials. It’s amazing to realize his character is recognized outside of our four walls. He’s got a great heart… to go along with two inflated lungs now, metal holding bones together, and stitched up epidermis that makes him appreciate good health more than ever.

“I can’t thank you guys enough,” Todd said. “The past few weeks showed us it’s not just family circling the wagons; I don’t think we’d ever realized that before. People out there who are hurting a hundred times worse than I was can use our prayers and any kind gesture. Maybe I can only repay by offering the same to you.”

Along with those words are a collage of Todd photos while in the hospital bed and one of him in the couch.

Track Palin

He joined the United States Army in 2008 and was deployed in Iraq. When he returned from service, he married his high school girlfriend Britta Hanson. They had one daughter together named Kyla Grace Palin in 2011. They divorced a year after. In January 2016, he was arrested for domestic violence after he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend and carried a gun while under the influence of alcohol.

Bristol Palin

Bristol is an active public speaker and has joined her mother on a reality show. She has also joined the Dancing with the Stars Season 11 where she won the third place and rejoined the show in the fifteenth season for the all-star edition. She has released her own memoir in 2011 entitled Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far and starred in her lifetime show Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp.

She was named after the Bristol Inn where her mother used to work and where her father grew up. She also attended Wasilla High School like her parents but also studied at the Juneau-Douglas High School and the West Anchorage High School. She graduated in 2009.

When her mother ran for the vice presidency, she became the center of attention due to unexpected pregnancy at the age of 18. She got pregnant with her first child, Tripp Easton Mithell Johnston-Palin, fathered by Levi Johnston. They got engaged but eventually called it off in 2009 and had reached a legal battle for the custody of their child. In 2015, she made an announcement on her blog regarding her second pregnancy this time with Dakota Meyer. Her post stated,

(I’m announcing this news a lot sooner than I ever expected due to the constant trolls who have nothing better to talk about!!!)

I wanted you guys to be the first to know that I am pregnant.

Honestly, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one.

At the end of the day there’s nothing I can’t do with God by my side, and I know I am fully capable of handling anything that is put in front of me with dignity and grace.

Life moves on no matter what. So no matter how you feel, you get up, get dressed, show up, and never give up.

When life gets tough, there is no other option but to get tougher.

I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.
But please respect Tripp’s and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.

My little family always has, and always will come first.

Tripp, this new baby, and I will all be fine, because God is merciful.

She gave birth to Sailor Grace Palin on December 23, 2015. Six months after, she married Dakota Meyer, a former Marine and a Medal of Honor recipient. Their second child and her third, Atlee Bay was born on May 08, 2017.

With her experience in teen pregnancy, she has become an active supporter of abstinence in teenagers. She was named as an ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention.

She has also been constantly drawing controversies after her several instances of making anti-gay and same-sex marriage comments. Supporters of the LGBT community have criticized her for her usage of the term faggot in reference to the critic of her mother’s reality show. She has also accused someone of being a homosexual after they got into an argument in a bar when the person criticized her mother’s show yet again. She also made negative comments in the legalization of gay marriage and defended Phil Robertson who made his own comments as well. Apart from her, Tripp, who was yet a toddler at that time, seem to have used the word faggot in July 2012.

Government Service

She joined politics in 1998 as a part of the Wasilla City Council. She was and still is a member of the Republican party since her start. She then ran for the mayoral position in 1996 and defeated John Stein. She won again in 1999 and was elected for her second term that ended in 2002 after the end of her allowable term. She was then chosen to be the president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors in 1999. It is said that she had asked those “city department heads who had been loyal to Stein” to resign.

During her second term, the state of Alaska’s debt grew from $1 million to $25 million after her municipal sports center project, street project, and water improvement project. This was called a “financial mess” by The Wall Street Journal.

She ran for the gubernatorial seat in 2006 and won against Frank Murkowski, and in the November 2006 elections, she defeated Tony Knowles, becoming the first female governor and youngest in Alaskan history. Her political travel to Kuwait was her first travel outside of North America in 2007. She only had her passport a year prior to it. Her salary as a governor was proposed to be raised by $25,000 to which she refused. The Alaska state commission has then dropped the recommendation following her refusal.

Sarah has had a significant amount of work when she was the governor of Alaska. However, she had decided to vacate her post on July 3, 2009. She said that she would not run for reelection and would be stepping down at the end of the month. Before this, she was under the hot waters of the ethics committee. After her term as a governor, the ethic rules of Alaska have been changed. The new rules states,

These include allowing for the state to pay legal costs for officials cleared of ethics violations; allowing for a family member of the governor or lieutenant governor to travel at state cost in certain circumstances and allowing an immediate family member to use an official’s state-issued cell phone or BlackBerry if the usage is limited or under monthly or unlimited plans.

She was chosen by John McCain to be his running-mate for the 2008 Presidential Elections. They went against Barrack Obama and Joe Bidden but eventually lost the elections. Different controversies arose in the middle of her campaign. She has criticized the programs passed by President Obama and his cabinet. She has coined “Death Panel” as a description for the proposed health care reform during the time of the then-president.

Other Works

She has joined the Tea Party movement and has been their speaker for their first convention. In her speech, she has criticized President Obama for his work as the head of state and described him to be weak on the War on Terror.

Apart from politics, she has also taken her chance in publishing written works. She published Going Rogue: An American Life in 2009, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag in 2010, I Hope Like Heck in 2011, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas in 2013, and Sweet Freedom: A Devotional in 2015.

Net Worth

As of 2017, she has an estimated net worth of $12 million dollars from all her source of income, politics, and personal gain combined.