Palin's resignation day arrives

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin steps down today giving few clues about her political future, which has been clouded by ethics probes, mounting legal bills and dwindling popularity.

Palin, who became a national political figure last year after she became the Republicans' vice presidential candidate, has said little of what her life will be like as a private citizen. She is scheduled to speak on 8 August at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, and has said she plans to write a book, campaign for political candidates from coast to coast and build a right-of-center coalition.



She also plans to continue speaking her mind on the social networking site Twitter.



"Wrapped up Anch Gov's Picnic, awesome," she wrote in a message posted Saturday, after an appearance in Anchorage. "Now road trip to Fairbanks for farewell speech/changing of the guard. Camper full of kids & coffee."



Friend and foe alike have speculated that Palin may host a radio or TV show, or launch a lucrative speaking career. Her political action committee, SarahPAC, has raised more than $1 million, said Meghan Stapleton, a spokeswoman for the committee and the Palin family.



Stapleton disputed the notion that Palin is running for president in 2012 or has media deals lined up.



"I cannot express enough there is no plan after July 26. There is absolutely no plan," she told The Associated Press. "The decision (to quit) was made in the vacuum of what was best for Alaska, and now I'm accepting all the options, but there is nothing planned."



Palin's surprise announcement July 3 that she was stepping down as Alaska governor 17 months before the end of her first term pushed her favorability rating down to 40 percent, according to a Washington Post-ABC poll. Fifty-three percent of those polled gave her an unfavorable rating.



Last summer, almost six in 10 Americans viewed her favorably.



Palin will hand over the governor's office to Lt. Gov Sean Parnell at a Sunday afternoon picnic at a Fairbanks park. Parnell, 46, of Anchorage, has promised to push many of Palin's initiatives, including controversial terms to build a natural gas pipeline.



"Sean knows he has big high heels to fill," said Mark Lewis, moderator of a farewell picnic hosted by Palin on Saturday in Anchorage, the state's largest city.



Parnell acknowledged he is likely to draw less attention than Palin, whose near celebrity status threatened at times to overwhelm her administration. He called Palin "a good, honorable and decent human being who loves Alaska."



Critics have accused Palin of failing to pay attention to the details of governing and say she has aggrandized herself at the state's expense.



Supporters — and there are many in the state and throughout the country — defend Palin as an outstanding leader with a strong Christian faith and unquestioned devotion to family.



Wilson Villanueva, 38, of Palmer, Alaska, attended one of Palin's farewell picnics in her hometown of Wasilla and disputed the idea that she was quitting because she was bored or unhappy in her job. He thinks she is stepping down for a "a greater purpose — to save taxpayers the burden" of defending herself against nearly 20 ethics complaints, including allegations she traded on her position as she sought money for lawyer fees.



Palin cited the financial toll of the investigations for quitting before the end of her term.



"She's not a quitter; she's a fighter. She wants to fight for the Alaskan people and for the greater good nationally," Villanueva said.



Randy Jedlicka, 31 of Anchorage, was less impressed.



He held up a sign at the Anchorage picnic asking why, if Palin can quit before her terms ends, soldiers in Iraq cannot do the same.



"I just don't think it's fair," said Jedlicka, a former sailor who served in the Persian Gulf in the mid-1990s. "A lot of vets want to quit, but they can't."



Alaska's first female governor arrived at the state Capitol in December 2006 on an ethics reform platform after defeating two former governors in the primary and general elections. Her prior political experience consisted of terms as Wasilla's mayor and councilwoman and a stint as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.



Unknown on the national stage until Sen. John McCain tapped her as his running mate, Palin infused excitement into the Republican's presidential bid. But she also became the butt of talk-show jokes and Democratic criticism, targeted at news that the Republican Party had spent $150,000 or more on a designer wardrobe and what some considered poor performances by the Alaska governor in television interviews.



Former state House Speaker John Harris, a Republican with sometimes chilly relations with Palin, said he respects her decision to resign.



"I think she decided out of respect for her family — and especially her children — the attacks were not going to end until she left office," Harris said.



Palin's future is whatever she wants it to be, Harris added. Palin will be "a spokeswoman for ideals and ideas that she believes in — more conservative government, natural resource development — and she's going to focus her energy on promoting candidates with similar ideas," he said.



Harris, who is seeking to challenge Parnell for governor, said he thinks Palin will run for president in 2012, but said he has no inside information.



Stapleton said the answer will emerge in the coming weeks.



On Monday, "we'll sit down and say, 'OK, here are your options. How do you now want to effect that positive change for Alaska from outside the role as governor?"' Stapleton said.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Membership Manager

£35 - 38k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Advisor / Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This position will in the main ...

Recruitment Genius: Ecommerce Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the top Cosmeceutical br...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks