By Peter J. Smith

FAIRBANKS, Alaska, July 28, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin officially stepped down as governor on Sunday and saw her pro-life colleague Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell sworn in as the tenth governor of Alaska. In a farewell address, Palin thanked Alaskans for the opportunity to serve as their governor and told them that when the United States looks to Alaska, they see that "there is hope, and opportunity, and there is country pride."

"We are facing tough challenges in America, with some seeming to just be Hell-bent maybe on tearing-down our nation, perpetuating some pessimism, and suggesting American apologetics, suggesting perhaps that our best days were yesterday's," Palin told a crowd of approximately 5,000 Alaskans gathered at Fairbanks Pioneer Park. Her husband Todd and two of her daughters, Willow and Piper, stood beside her.

 "But as other people have asked, 'How can that pessimism be, when proof of our greatness, our pride today is that we produce the great proud volunteers who sacrifice everything for country?'"

Praising the wisdom of the people of Alaska and those "very wise pioneers" who wrote the state constitution in Fairbanks, Palin stated that the declaration of the state's founding documents that "all political power is inherent in the people" was a guiding light for her administration, especially in her quest for ethics reforms.

"Remember then, our state so desired and so deserved ethics reform. We promised it, and now it is the law. Ironically, it needs additional reform to stop blatant abuse from partisan operatives, and I hope the lawmakers will continue that reform," Palin continued.

Palin's ascent into the national spotlight set off a series of ethics complaints - twenty in total, averaging nearly one complaint every 3 weeks from the time Sen. John McCain announced Palin as his vice-presidential running-mate to the day she finally resigned from office. The former governor says fighting the complaints cost her family at least $500,000 in legal fees, and stymied her ability to address the affairs of state.

The latest complaint dismissed is the sixth complaint filed by Anchorage activist Andree McLeod, who had accused the governor of violating the Ethics Act by receiving her salary while she campaigned for vice president. According to the Anchorage Daily News, McLeod's litany of allegations has cost Alaska $43,028 to investigate and dismiss.

However, Palin also asked Alaskans to hold fast to their pioneer spirit and "resist enslavement to big central government that crushes hope and opportunity."

 "Be wary of accepting government largess. It doesn't come free and often," cautioned Palin. "Accepting it takes away everything that is free. Melting into Washington's powerful 'care-taking' arms will just suck incentive to work hard, and chart our own course right out of us. And that not only contributes to an unstable economy, and dizzying national debt, but it does make us less free."

"We don't have to feel that we must beg an allowance from Washington, except to beg the allowance to be self-determined," stated Palin, who praised the strength of the people and the family as the core of Alaska's future prosperity and success.

"At statehood we knew this, that we are responsible for ourselves and our families and our future, and fifty years later, please let's not start believing that government is the answer," said Palin. "It can't make you happy or healthy or wealthy or wise.

"What can? It is the wisdom of the people, and our families, and our small businesses, and industrious individuals, and it is God's grace, helping those who help themselves. And then, this allows that very generous, voluntary hand up that we're known for, enthusiastically providing those who need it."

Palin also gave a cautionary warning to the media, admonishing them not to sacrifice the honesty that should be the cornerstone of their profession and American democracy.

"You represent what could and should be a respected honest profession that could and should be the cornerstone of our democracy," said Palin. "Democracy depends on you, and that is why, that's why our troops are willing to die for you. So, how about in honor of the American soldier, you quit making things up."

"Our new governor has a very nice family too, so leave his kids alone," added Palin, referring to criticisms that the media at times seemed to dedicate as much energy to scrutinizing her children as Palin herself.

In her final remarks, Palin concluded, "Wherever the road may lead you, we have that steadying great north star to guide us home. So let's all enjoy the ride. And I thank you Alaska, and God bless Alaska, and God bless America."

Shortly thereafter, Sean Parnell was sworn in as Palin's successor. Palin's resignation gives Parnell the opportunity to continue Palin's policies and build a record for himself as an incumbent, should he decide to run for office in 2010. Parnell has made reforming the ethics laws a top priority, warning that the law as it stands imperils the executive branch from carrying out its functions and the rule of law.

"I will tell you one thing," Alaskan Jon Thompson told a CNN reporter. "If we get a woman president, let it be her. She is a real woman. She knows what a woman is supposed to be. She is pro-life. She is pro-family. She is pro-woman."

Palin gave no indication as to whether she would attempt to run for President in 2012. For the meantime she has continued to emphasize that her objective is to build a center-right coalition in the United States of Republicans and Democrats in order to advance the best interests of the nation.

See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

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Pro-life, Pro-family Leaders Praise McCain's Choice of Pro-Life Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for VP Running Mate 

Sarah Palin Slams Obama's "Radical" Abortion Record in Johnstown Speech 

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