Friday, August 29, 2008

Pre-RNC: McCain Names Gov. Sarah Palin as VP Running-Mate - Who is She?

Republicans are making this election historic too. Sen. John McCain just announced that he has chosen Governor Sarah Palin to run for Vice President - the first woman to serve on the Republican ticket.

Who is she? In addition to serving as the first female governor of Alaska, she's married to a Native Yup'ik Eskimo and the mother of five children, including a son who serves the Army infantry brigade scheduled to deploy to Iraq next month, a 4-month-old infant son, and three daughters.

Second place winner of the Miss Alaska beauty pagent in the 80s, she won Miss Congeniality and helped to pay her way through college. She has a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Idaho, with a minor in politics. She served as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations, admits she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska (but claims she didn't like it), and is a lifetime member of the NRA.

What has she done? Palin served two terms on the Wasilla City Council in the early 90s, and she kept her campaign promises to reduce her own salary and worked to reduce property taxes by 60%.

As Governor of Alaska, based on her understanding of a state Supreme Court ruling, she used her first veto to grant State of Alaska benefits to same-sex couples by blocking legislation that would have prevented these benefits. She didn't agree with the court's ruling but implemented it - in what some say was deference to the state constitution - despite her personal views.

But she doesn't agree that citizens who happen to be gay deserve the right to marry. Alaska was one of the first states to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and she agreed. She still opposes same-sex marriage, although she says she has gay friends and is receptive to their concerns about discrimination.

We will learn more about Governor Sarah Palin in the days to come. History is in the making before our very eyes.