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The total tax bill on the couple’s five properties, according to the records, was $7,662. The Palins reported no debts in disclosure documents filed by the governor other than the mortgage on their home.

State records also show that Mr. Palin has a pilot’s license, owns a 320-series Piper single-engine airplane and two boats, a 22-foot Pacific Skiff fishing boat and a 22-foot homemade aluminum fishing boat. He also owns two Bombardier personal watercraft, valued at about $7,000.

But as Alaska’s first female governor, who told Congress “thanks but no thanks” to the notorious “bridge to nowhere” project derided nationally as an example of pork-barrel spending, Mrs. Palin has shown she is capable of eschewing her success to connect with voters.

“Sarah Palin is a very goal-oriented person who has been very successful in all that she has tried,” Wasilla’s current mayor, Dianne Keller, told The Washington Times. “As the mayor here for six years and a member of the City Council before that, her constituents were her neighbors and she knew the buck stopped with her.

“She showed her ability to put together a strong, nonpartisan team of advisers to get the job done,” said Mrs. Keller, who first was appointed to the Wasilla City Council in 1996 and elected as mayor in 2002. “She learned, as did I, that you go to the grocery store, the school and to the post office with your constituents. She may have more executive experience than anybody else on the ticket.”

In keeping with the small-town theme, Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin began their post-convention tour of battleground states on Friday in Cedarburg, Wis., a town of 11,056, and the Alaska governor promptly ordered a large scoop of moose tracks - vanilla ice cream with peanut-butter cups and fudge, served in a waffle cone.

It would come as no surprise that during her recent gubernatorial race, Mrs. Palin - a proud member of the National Rifle Association - announced during a debate that her favorite meal was “moose stew, after a day of snow machining.”

After Mrs. Palin’s election as governor in 2006, Mr. Palin took a cut in his $120,000 annual pay as an engineer at BP in Prudhoe Bay to be to be an oil production operator at $46,790 a year. The move was part of an effort to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest with big oil and to spend more time with his children as his wife went about the business of being governor.

Mrs. Palin had been a chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Mr. Palin, according to his wife’s state financial disclosure forms, also has participated for several years in a 401(k) plan with BP and a pre-1996 SARSEP IRA pension plan through Smith Barney in his fishing business, both of which permit contributions to be made through employee salary reductions. He relies mainly on mutual funds and exchange traded funds to guarantee his returns, the records show, and maintains a diversified portfolio.

Last year, Mrs. Palin received $125,000 as governor and Mr. Palin, an oil production operator and commercial fisherman, earned $93,000, along with $22,500 as a professional snow-machine racer.

Mrs. Palin was elected to the Wasilla City Council in 1992 and won the major’s job in 1996, serving six years before being term-limited.

In addition to being a mayor and raising four children at the time, Mrs. Palin and her husband found time in 2004 to help start a business venture in Wasilla - part-owners of a car wash.

According to the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, the Palins were partners in the Anchorage Car Wash, each holding a 20 percent share of the business - although Mrs. Palin failed to report their involvement in disclosure forms required in Alaska for gubernatorial candidates and it was later dissolved.

In February 2007, state licensing officials said in a letter to the Palins’ business partners, Ray and Carolin Wells of Anchorage, that the business had “not filed its biennial report and/or paid its biennial fees,” which were more than a year overdue. The warning came on State of Alaska letterhead, which carried Mrs. Palin’s name at the top, next to the state seal.

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