2008 Firsts for Women from WowOwow

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Sarah Palin, First Woman to Be the Republican Candidate for Vice President

February 11, 2010
by Liz Colville
In 2008, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska became the first Republican woman in U.S. history to be nominated for vice president.

Sarah Palin's Early Years

Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska was groomed for the spotlight. Born on February 11, 1964, as a teenager Palin entered beauty pageants to earn money for college and earned the title of Miss Wasilla in 1984. She was also a talented basketball player and cross-country runner. She received her degree in communications from the University of Idaho in 1987 and began a career as a sports reporter for an Anchorage television station.

In 1992, Palin entered politics, earning a seat on the Wasilla city council. Four years later, she was elected the city’s mayor. During her six years in office, she “ushered through a series of infrastructure improvements funded by a sales tax increase, and the city’s operating budget soared,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
She ran an unsuccessful 2002 campaign for Alaska lieutenant governor, but was subsequently appointed to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She earned a reputation as a reformer after an investigation she undertook of fellow commissioner Randy Ruedrich. Although she resigned under pressure from opponents to her work on the inquiry, Ruedrich did eventually confess to ethics violations and paid a “record $12,000 civil fine,” according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Sarah Palin's Notable Accomplishments

In 2004, Palin sided with Democrats in an ethics investigation of Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who had close ties to Governor Frank H. Murkowski. Renkes resigned in February 2005, which was thought to have damaged Murkowski’s reelection campaign and paved the way for Palin. She became Alaska’s first female governor after triumphing in a three-way race, earning 51 percent of the vote.

As governor, Palin created the Climate Change Subcabinet, the Petroleum Systems Integrity Office and became chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which she had previously cochaired. According to Palin’s official Web site biography, she “passed two major pieces of legislation” in her first legislative session as governor: “an overhaul of the state’s ethics laws and a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline.”

In 2008, Palin became the first woman to be nominated to a Republican presidential ticket, chosen as a vice-presidential running mate by Senator John McCain of Arizona. McCain, who had only met Palin briefly before making his decision, was impressed with the governor’s bipartisan efforts and record of reform. Following the announcement, the McCain campaign said that Palin’s “experience in shaking up the status quo is exactly what is needed in Washington today.” Although McCain and Palin failed to win the election, Palin has now joined Fox News as a recurring commentator.

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