[Vision2020] Alaska Governor Bucks Party, Tradition

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Thu Dec 27 08:42:46 PST 2007

>From today's (December 27, 2007) Spokesman Review -

"The 43-year-old University of Idaho graduate has emerged as a national
figure and media darling, posing recently for Vogue magazine."


Alaska governor bucks party, tradition
State's first female leader has raised oil taxes and posed for Vogue

Steve Quinn 
Associated Press
December 27, 2007

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a Sandpoint, Idaho, native, listens to questions
during an interview in her office earlier this month in Juneau. (Associated

JUNEAU, Alaska - In her first year as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has
plunged ahead with the fearlessness of a polar explorer.

The populist Republican, who was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, has raised taxes
on the powerful oil industry. She has pushed through ethics legislation amid
a burgeoning corruption investigation of Alaska lawmakers.

She has bucked her party's old guard. And she has ordered her administration
to seek fewer congressional earmarks after Alaska's "Bridge to Nowhere"
became a national symbol of piggish pork-barrel spending.

The 43-year-old University of Idaho graduate has emerged as a national
figure and media darling, posing recently for Vogue magazine.

Alaska's first female governor, a former Miss Wasilla with upswept
light-brown hair, says it is her responsibility to be available even to
fashion magazines if it can help change the state's reputation for graft and
gluttony at the public trough.

"We've got to make sure the rest of the United States doesn't believe the
only thing going on in Alaska is FBI probes and corruption trials," Palin

Palin was just three months old when her family moved from Sandpoint to
Alaska, her father, Chuck Heath, told The Spokesman-Review in 2006. She
returned to Idaho to attend UI, graduating in 1987 with a degree in

Heath grew up in Hope, Idaho, and taught in Sandpoint schools in the early

Palin has dismissed speculation she might leave Juneau for higher office
before her term expires in 2010, saying, "My role as governor is where I can
be most helpful right now unless something drastic happens, and I don't
anticipate that right now."

Nevertheless, John J. Pitney Jr., a political scientist with Claremont
McKenna College in California and former analyst for congressional
Republicans, said Palin could be an ideal presidential running mate next

"What separates her from others is that at a time when Republicans have
suffered from the taint of corruption, she represents clean politics,"
Pitney said.

"The public stereotype of Republican is a wrinkled old guy taking cash under
the table," he said. "One way for Republicans to break the stereotype is
with a female reformer."

Party labels seem to mean very little to Palin. Her revenue commissioner is
a Democrat. Her husband, Todd, a blue-collar worker on Alaska's oil-rich
North Slope, is an independent.

The mother of four is often seen bounding down the Capitol stairwell,
holding a pink backpack and rushing to get her 6-year-old daughter, Piper,
off to school on time - something that Pitney said could make Palin more
appealing to a national audience.

The former mayor of the Anchorage suburb of Wasilla ran on ethics reform in
trouncing Gov. Frank Murkowski in the GOP primary. In the general election,
she handily beat former Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat.

She immediately took on the state's most lucrative industry, questioning
whether Alaska - which gets about 85 percent of its revenue from big oil -
is getting its fair share of the oil companies' billions of dollars in
quarterly profits.

She got what she wanted from the GOP-controlled Legislature. Relying heavily
on Democratic votes, she won approval last month to boost taxes on oil
company profits from 22.5 percent to 25 percent. That could bring in an
additional $1.6 billion annually for the state, depending on oil prices.

The state has also accepted bids for the right to build a
multibillion-dollar pipeline to deliver Alaska's natural gas to the rest of
the nation.

On the same day a former Alaska lawmaker was convicted on federal bribery
charges, Palin signed an ethics reform bill into law.

Since then, two more former lawmakers have been found guilty of bribery
related to VECO Corp., an oil field contractor. Another former lawmaker
awaits trial, and Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, both Republicans, are
under investigation.

Palin's climb is being done without the backing of the state Republican
Party, led by Randy Ruedrich. In 2004, as chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and
Gas Conservation Commission, Palin exposed Ruedrich for ethics violations
when he was a fellow commissioner.

She has also made trouble for the party's establishment by calling on
Stevens to give the public an explanation of why the feds have raided
Stevens' Alaska home in the investigation of his ties to VECO's founder.

"I don't sweat it at all that the partisanship isn't playing a big part of
my agenda," Palin said. "What that tells me is this: that I'm on the right
track, and that it hasn't stopped us."


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

Came a tribe from the north brave and bold . . .

"Here We Have Idaho"

"I-D-A-H-O Idaho Idaho Go Go Go"

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