Mayor Palin Sped Town's Turn From Frontier to Suburb

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2008 8:00 PM CDT
This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a city council member of Wasilla, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Heath Family)
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(Newser) – Sarah Palin’s image as an intrepid frontierswoman comes largely from her 10 years as city councilwoman and then mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, home of the Iditarod dog-sled race. But the Iditarod’s start had to be moved north because of Wasilla’s numerous new driveways, the Wall Street Journal reports. Palin's legacy is the fast-tracking of the suburbanization of the town, which now has a Wal-Mart and a Pizza Hut.

Residents complain that their once-wild town, in one critic's words, “feels more like Anchorage, more and more." And Palin the mayoral candidate is remembered for injecting partisan politics into a race usually seen as a neighborly contest, Time reports. "It was always a nonpartisan job," says an opponent. "But with her, the state GOP came in and started affecting the race."