Sarah Palin’s political career began at Seat E, Wasilla City Council, where she served two three-year terms. In the building which housed her second grade classroom, and the office where she would later serve as Mayor, then Councilwoman Palin’s innate Reagan conservatism went to work. She saw the key functions of local government as: infrastructure development and fiscal responsibility (Palin, 2009, p. 67).
- Councilwoman Palin focused on reducing property taxes and redefining the city government’s role (Palin, 2009, p. 64).
- Supported 2% sales tax with a corresponding reduction in property taxes. The sales tax was fairer and more optional, and kept reduced government control over what Wasilla residents owned (Palin, 2009, p. 65).
- Opposed master-planned community type zoning regulations and favored retaining a do-it-yourself approach (Palin, 2009, p. 65-66).
- Opposed development plan that would have required residents of new sub-divisions to pay for weekly garbage removal – by a company owned by city council member Nick Carney (Palin, 2009, p. 66).
- Voted against mayoral pay raise (Palin, 2009, p. 66).
- Personally read, reviewed, and understood every line item in city budgets, every word of proposed regulations, and ordinances, and took time to know her constituents’ concerns.
- Councilwoman Palin took constituent calls to her home at all hours of the night, including holidays and weekends (Palin, 2009, p. 68).
“In local politics, your constituents are your neighbors, family, friends, and sometimes, even your enemies. You see them as the grocery store, the post office, and the hockey rink. Often politicians who make it to state and national office forget that those good people – the gas station mechanic, the local farmer, the scores of mom-and-pop shop owners who form the backbone of our economy – put them into office, and they are the ones who should be at the forefront of our minds” (Palin, 2009, p. 68).
Other Aspects Unique to Sarah Palin:
- Grassroots campaigning.
- Carried daughter Willow in a car seat to work; nursed Willow in a Snugli as she worked on a radio ad for a local politician.
Photo courtesy of Judy Patrick as published in Going Rogue: An American Life
“After serving my first term on the City Council, I was reelected in 1995 to serve another term, before I ran for mayor. It was a pleasure serving my hometown, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for much of anything.”
Budget Documents FY 1992 – 1997 cover the period when Sarah Palin was Councilwoman.
Palin, S. L. H. (2009). Going Rogue: An American Life. (New York: Harper). pp. 64-68.