(AP) - Like John McCain, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is a conservative with a maverick streak who has shown a willingness to clash with others in her own party.
A self-styled hockey mom and political reformer, Palin is a first-term governor who's held the job for less than two years.
The 44-year-old Palin is a former mayor of Wasilla who became governor in December 2006. She has a national reputation for
bucking her party's establishment and Alaska's powerful oil industry.
It started in 2004, when Palin was chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Palin exposed Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich for ethical violations when he was a commissioner.
Then in 2005, Palin teamed up with Eric Croft, a Democratic legislator and gubernatorial candidate, to file an ethics complaint against Governor Frank Murkowski's longtime aide and then attorney general, Gregg Renkes, who ended up resigning.
During her gubernatorial campaign in 2006, Palin cast herself as a Republican maverick.
More recently, Palin has come under the scrutiny of an investigation by the Republican-controlled legislature. It's looking into the possibility that Palin ordered the dismissal of Alaska's public safety commissioner because he would not fire her
former brother-in-law as a state trooper.
Palin was born in 1964. She graduated from the University of Idaho in 1987 with a degree in journalism. She's worked as a sports
reporter for two Anchorage TV stations and has been a businesswoman.
Palin served as chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, two terms as mayor of Wasilla and two terms on the city council.
She and her husband, Todd Palin, have five children. The latest was born last April with Down syndrome.
The Palins have said there was never any doubt they would have the child -- after learning in the fourth month of pregnancy that
the boy had Down syndrome. Governor Palin said: "We've both been very vocal about being pro-life."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)