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I have a 19 year old who's getting ready to be deployed to Iraq. His striker brigade leaves on September 11 of this year. He's 19 and he'll be gone for a year. [And so] on a personal level, when I talk about the plan for the war, let's make sure we have a plan here. And respecting McCain's position on that too, though. And I have a daughter who will be 18 here shortly, another daughter 14, another daughter 7. My daughter just walked into my office. [Sound of child whispering. "I'm not eight till next year."] And I have a baby who is three months old. Trig was just born recently, And he's just an awesome sweet baby. Trig was born with Down Syndrome so this was a whole new ballgame for us, just understanding this very, very special child, who's such an awesome fit in our lives right now. It's just very nice and full life that we have right now...I knew while I was pregnant that he would be born with Down Syndrome. So I was as prepared as one could be.
Having a baby in office must be really challenging. Have your children influenced you in any way?
Absolutely, and because I have both boys and girls I have a greater respect for equality and making sure that gender is not an issue and that everyone is treated equally. Because my husband is Alaska native, my kids have provided me an opportunity to really respect the Alaska native heritage, the culture.
My son being in a striker brigade in the army has really opened my eyes to international events, and how war impacts everyday Americans like us when we have a child who chooses to enlist and to serve [for] the right reasons. Certainly a child born with Down Syndrome has opened my eyes too to challenges that others have. Every American has a challenge. Every American has battles and bumps in the road in their lives. It's just really opened my eyes to a larger world than maybe what I had been used to.
Yeah, just a myriad of examples I can give and how being a mom changes my perspective. And education is very, very important to me because I have got kids today in the system, in the public school system. I want to make sure that we are adequately funded, but that we have high standards and accountability in our schools so that every public dollar is spent wisely. Because I walk into those schools on a regular basis and I want to make sure that our public schools are as good as they can be because my kids are a part of them.
Where do you see yourself going? Staying on in Alaska. Washington?
You know, I don't know. I knew early on that the smartest thing for me to do was to work hard, do the best that I can, make wise decisions based on good information in front of me. And then put my life, get myself on a path that could be dedicated to God and ask Him what I should next. That will be the position I will be in as long as I'm on earth that is, seeking the right path that God would have laid out for me.
What's your religion?
No. Bible-believing Christian.
What church do you attend?
A non-denominational Bible church. I was baptized Catholic as a newborn and then my family started going to non-denominational churches throughout our life.
Anything else you want to add?
You know, I can't think of anything. Except here in Alaska my family is a microcosm of so much of Alaska. My husband is a commercial fisherman. He also works up in the north slopes in the oil fields. I'm the first female governor in Alaska, so that's brought with it kind of a whole new chapter in Alaska's life. Like my husband up here they refer to him as the "first dude," not the first gentleman. And Todd... And he is such a dude. He's a four-time winner of the Iron Dog snow machine race, which is the the world's longest and they say toughest snow machine race, 2,000 miles across Alaska. A whole new chapter here when Todd is asked to do things like and he graciously complies and he has a good time doing it hosting, as he did a couple of weeks ago down in Juneau, our capital city, the former first ladies tea party. And he does just great at things like that, as well as working in oil fields, with snow machines and in commercial fishing. That's a dynamic here that's of interest to others. Again, sort of a microcosm of that... reflective of an Alaskan lifestyle that so many of us participate in.
I guess its almost natural then to think that women, because they stay in one place, might make better politicians in Alaska than men?
I hadn't thought of that. Lots of unconventional schedules up here. Our kids are very, very, very adaptable because they've grown up with unconventional schedules. With Todd's slope work, he works 700 miles away from home. And the commercial fishing. And I've got a busy schedule. They're very adaptable and well adjusted. Everything seems to work the way it's supposed to work. Thanks to my husband keeping things organized. Even from far away, he does.