Sarah Palin

Gov. Sarah Palin drew notice as a young woman who won the Alaska governor's race in 2006 on a platform of reform. Not well known prior to that victory, Palin previously had served two terms as the mayor of the southern Alaskan town of Wasilla, population 7,025. She has yet to detail her positions on many major foreign policy issues.

As governor of oil-rich Alaska, a primary area of Palin's focus has been energy policy. She favors domestic oil exploration in Alaska, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Palin chairs the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a government agency whose stated aim is helping its member states "efficiently maximize oil and natural gas resources." Palin also chairs the National Governors Association's Natural Resources Committee. As governor, Palin created the Petroleum Systems Integrity Office, which oversees the state's oil and gas infrastructure, facilities, and equipment "to maximize the safe and stable flow of oil and gas resources to market."

From 2003 to 2004, Palin chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She resigned from that position in protest over her concerns about allegedly unethical behavior among her Republican colleagues on the commission.

Palin is only the second woman ever nominated by one of the major U.S. political parties for the position of vice president, following former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY), who ran with Walter Mondale in 1984. If elected, she would have been the first female vice president of the United States.