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Sarah Palin ’87 is a rising star. She was featured in a Newsweek article about women in state government and interviewed on Charlie Rose’s national PBS program.
The youngest governor in Alaska’s history and the first woman governor since statehood, Palin is a 1987 graduate of the University of Idaho.
Combining her curiosity with her love of writing, she decided to pursue a degree in journalism. “I was always asking everyone the questions, and I still am today,” Palin says.
Palin first got into politics running for city council in Wasilla, Alaska. Palin says her youth was more of an issue to voters than her gender, but that didn’t stop her from running for mayor of Wasilla and winning when she was only 32.
“We accomplished a lot in the fastest growing area of the state, and we reduced a bunch of taxes,” Palin says. “Our agenda worked.”
In early 2006, Palin sensed dissatisfaction with some of Alaska’s longtime political figures and decided to run for governor.
“Knowing that former Governor Frank Murkowski’s term was about to end, and seeing that it was the same old people wanting to run, I said to myself, ‘Let’s get way out there and take a stand for things that weren’t right and had to be changed.’”
As governor, Palin has two major goals: restoring Alaska’s reputation after a series of political scandals and making the state less reliant on federal funding. “I feel like that is a reason that we are here – to show that we can be trustworthy, and we can run a clean government which will allow us to convince the rest of the nation that we are capable of being responsible resource developers to supply the U.S.”
With five offices located across Alaska, Palin is constantly traveling while trying to spend as much time as possible with her husband and four children.
Palin’s approval rating among voters hovers between 80 and 90 percent.
This article first appeared in January 2008 in “Here We Have Idaho” — the University’s alumni magazine.