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Name: Sarah Louise Heath Palin

Party Affiliation: Republican

Birthday: Feb. 11, 1964

Birthplace/Where she has lived: Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho and moved to Skagway, Alaska as an infant. In 1972, she moved to Wasilla, Alaska, where she lived until college.

Education: Palin attended Wasilla High School in Wasilla, Alaska.

In 1982, she attended Hawaii Pacific College for one semester. After two semesters at North Idaho community college, she transferred to the University of Idaho, where she stayed for two semesters. She then studied at Matanuska-Susitna community college in Alaska, and then returned to the University of Idaho where she received a degree in communications-journalism in 1987.

Previous jobs: Palin worked as a sportscaster at an NBC affiliate station in Anchorage until 1989, and as a sports reporter for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. She also co-owned her husband's fishing company until 2007.

Palin's political career started in 1992, when she became a member of the Wasilla City Council. In 1996, she was elected mayor of Wasilla, promising to eliminate wasteful spending. She served as mayor for two terms and in 2002, she ran for the Republican lieutenant-governor nomination, coming in second place.

The next year, Palin was appointed to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, where she served as Ethics Supervisor until 2004. Palin also worked as a director for a 527 group providing political training for Alaskan woman from 2003 through 2005.

Current job: Alaska Governor

Key issues:

Gas pipeline: In August, Palin authorized a $26-billion pipeline across Canada, which will deliver Alaskan natural gas to the continental United States. The project faces legal challenges from Canada.

Oil taxes: As governor, Palin controversially raised state taxes on oil companies' revenues.

Bridge to Nowhere: Palin initially supported a Congressional earmark for a bridge to Gravina Island (population 50), but later reneged on her support for the controversial "Bridge to Nowhere."

Fun facts:

Was captain of the state-champion Wasilla High School women's basketball team, where she earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda."

Won Miss Wasilla beauty pageant in 1984 and went on to place second in the Miss Alaska competition.

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