Article published on the 2008-08-29 Latest update 2008-08-30 12:07 TU
Born in 1964 in Idaho, Sarah Heath Palin arrived in Alaska as an infant when her parents came to teach school in Skagway.
In 1987 she received a bachelor of science degree in communications-journalism from the University of Idaho, where she also studied political science.
She is married to Todd Palin, a native Yup'ik who works for BP, and has five children.
She entered politics in 1992, when she was elected to Wasilla City Council, becoming mayor in 1996 on a low-spending platform.
During her tenure, she reduced property tax levels and claims to have maintained services while drawing in new industry. Her decision to fire the city police chief led to a court case which she won.
She was elected by her peers to serve as president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.
After she made an unsuccessful bid to become lieutenant-governor in 2002, then-Governor Frank Murkowski appointed Palin Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She served from 2003 to 2004 but resigned because she accused fellow-Republicans of a "lack of ethics".
After filed complaints against state Republican Party chairman, Randy Ruedrich and Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes, leading to their resignations and 12,000 dollar fine for Ruedrich.
She was elected Govenor of Alaska in 2006, having promised clean government and improvements to public safety, education and transport.
During her first legislative session, Palin's administration passed two major pieces of legislation - an overhaul of the states ethics laws and a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline.
She has served as chair of the Alaska Conservation Commission, which regulates Alaska’s most valuable non-renewable resources, oil and gas.
Palin, a keen hunter, is a member of the National Rifle Association, opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and wants no environmental restrictions on drilling in Alaska.