Todd Mitchell Palin, born September 6, 1964 is the husband of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice-presidential nominee of the Republican Party. He is an American oil field production operator, commercial fisherman and champion snowmobile racer, winning the Tesoro Iron Dog race four times.
Palin was born and raised in Dillingham, Alaska to James F. "Jim" and Blanche Palin (née Kallstrom).
His father, a native of Seattle, Washington, is a former general manager of Matanuska Electrical Association. His mother, a former secretary of the Alaska Federation of Natives, is one-quarter Yup'ik, and his maternal grandmother, Helena (Bartman) Andree, is a member of the Curyung tribe. His paternal grandfather, Frederick William Palin, was born in Hartney, Manitoba, Canada in February 1905.
In 1982, Palin graduated from Wasilla High School, which is the same alma mater of his wife and their eldest two children, son Track and daughter Bristol. He has taken some college courses but does not have a degree.
For eighteen years, he worked for BP in the North Slope oil fields of Alaska. In 2007, in order to avoid a conflict of interest that related to his wife's position as governor, he took a leave from his job as production supervisor, when his employer became involved in natural gas pipeline negotiations with his wife's administration. Seven months later, because the family needed more income, Todd returned to BP. In order to avoid potential conflict of interest, this time, he accepted a non-management position as a production operator.He resigned from his job on September 18, 2009, with the stated reason as a desire to spend more time with his family.
He is also a commercial salmon fisherman at Bristol Bay on the Nushugak River.
Palin first registered to vote in 1989. From October 1995 through July 2002, except for a few months in 2000, he was registered to vote as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party. In late August 2008, The Politico reported that Palin was registered to vote as an independent (undeclared), and had never registered as a Republican. In her memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, Sarah Palin confirms this, writing, "My husband... isn't registered with any party, for sound reasons, having been an eyewitness to the idiosyncrasies of party machines." Sarah Palin reaffirmed that Todd is not a registered Republican again in her February 6, 2010, keynote address to the national Tea Party convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
Husband of the Governor of Alaska
Palin in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Palin was First Gentleman (or "First Dude," as he was often nicknamed) for two and a half years. Early on in that role, he encouraged young Alaskans who could not afford college to consider jobs in the oil and gas industry as an effective training ground, and advised the Governor on workforce development issues for the natural gas pipeline she supported.
In February 2010, the state of Alaska released to msnbc.com reporter Bill Dedman about 1,200 e-mails, which totalled 3,000 pages, that Palin exchanged with state officials. Almost 250 additional ones were withheld by the state, under a claim that executive privilege extends to Palin as an unpaid adviser to the government.Gregg Erickson, columnist for the Anchorage Daily News, said, in September 2008, that Palin "obviously plays an important role… I've seen him in the governor's office and I know that she's conducted interviews in the governor's office with him present." The emails showed Palin discussing a wide range of activities: potential board appointees, constituent complaints, use of the state jet, oil and gas production, marine regulation, gas pipeline bids, wildfires, native Alaskan issues, the state effort to save the Matanuska Maid dairy, budget planning, potential budget vetoes, oil shale leasing, "strategy for responding to media allegations," staffing at the mansion, pier diem payments to the governor for travel, "strategy for responding to questions about pregnancy," potential cuts to the governor's staff, "confidentiality issues," Bureau of Land Management land transfers and trespass issues and requests to the U.S. transportation secretary.
As of late 2009, Palin was a community volunteer who worked in youth sports, coached hockey and basketball. Palin was a judge in the 2008 Miss Alaska pageant.
Champion snowmobile racer
Palin is a four-time champion of the Tesoro Iron Dog, the world's longest snowmobile race. and traces the path of the Iditarod race with an extra journey of several hundred miles to Fairbanks added.
Palin has competed in the Tesoro every year since 1993. His racing teammate is Scott Davis, with whom he won in 2007. He has previously raced with Dusty Van Meter in the race, and they were co-champions in 2000 and 2002. In 1995, Palin partnered with Dwayne Drake for his first win.
In 2008, 400 miles (640 km) from defending his Tesoro Iron Dog championship, he was injured and broke his arm when he was thrown 70 feet from his machine.He was sent to the hospital but managed to finish in fourth place.
In 1988, Palin married his high school sweetheart, Sarah Heath. The Palins have five children: Track Charles James (b. 1989), who has enlisted in the United States Army and deployed to Iraq on September 11, 2008; Bristol Sheeran Marie (b. 1990);Willow Bianca Faye (b. 1994); Piper Indy Grace (b. 2001); and Trig Paxson Van (b. 2008), who has Down syndrome; and two grandchildren: Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston, born in 2008 in Palmer, Alaska, to Bristol and Levi Johnston and Kyla Grace Palin, who was born to son Track and his wife, Britta, in 2011.
Palin fishes and holds a Private Pilot Certificate. He also owns his own aircraft, a Piper PA-18 Super Cub.
Palin's stepmother, Faye Palin, ran unsuccessfully in 2002 for the position of Mayor for Wasilla, Alaska, to succeed Palin's wife, Sarah, who was term-limited. Faye Palin, who is pro-choice and a registered Democrat, lost to Dianne M. Keller, a candidate endorsed by Sarah Palin.
Public Safety Commissioner controversy
Todd Palin's name has appeared in news reports regarding the firing of Commissioner Walt Monegan and the actions of Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten. At one point, Todd Palin brought information prepared by himself and a private investigator to Monegan.
On September 12, 2008, the Alaska Legislature subpoenaed Palin to testify on his role in the controversy. On September 18, the McCain/Palin campaign announced that Todd Palin would refuse to testify because he does not believe the investigation is legitimate. State senator Bill Wielechowski said that the witnesses could not be punished for disobeying the subpoenas until the full legislature comes into session, then scheduled to be in January 2009.
On October 10, 2008, Palin was cited in special investigator Stephen Branchflower's report to the Legislative Council. One of Branchflower's four main findings was that Governor Palin violated Alaska's Ethics Act when she "wrongfully permitted Todd Palin to use the governor's office...to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired."Blanchflower also states: "Todd Palin is not an employee of the (Alaska) executive branch, so his conduct is not a violation of (the Ethics Act)." and " . . . I make no finding as to Mr. Palin's conduct..