JUNEAU -- Gov. Sarah Palin is planning at least two trips out of state paid for by her political action committee, which told backers on Wednesday she'll be traveling the country to support those who share her vision.
Among the events Palin will attend is what's described as the nation's largest Right to Life banquet. Meg Stapleton, spokeswoman for SarahPAC, said the governor is just looking at a few such out-of-state events in the near future.
SarahPAC sent supporters an e-mail saying it "supports leaders and candidates that share Governor Palin's vision of government reform, (low) taxes, and personal freedom. Governor Palin will soon be travelling the country and working to support leaders who share this vision. "
Stapleton, the SarahPAC spokeswoman in Anchorage, gave a less sweeping description of the plans.
"Over the last many months, the governor has received thousands of requests for her time. While the governor always encourages visits to Alaska, she looks forward to a few potential Outside events over the next few months," Stapleton said in a written statement.
Palin will attend the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner in Evansville, Ind., on April 16, Stapleton said. Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele will be a speaker at that "Freedom for Life" banquet, and a major Christian musician, Matthew West, will perform, according to the Web site for the event.
The banquet, established in the late 1980s, has become known nationwide and typically draws around 2,000 people.
The governor also will attend a celebration of special needs children in Indiana on the same trip, Stapleton said. That event is by the group S.M.I.L.E. on Down Syndrome.
The governor's baby son, Trig, has Down Syndrome. Stapleton said in an interview that the chance for Palin to attend the banquet and the special needs event in the same trip is one reason she's going.
It means the governor will be in the Midwest just before the April 19th conclusion of Alaska's legislative session. "It will be literally a fly through the night and do a dinner and a breakfast," Stapleton said.
Palin attended the Alfalfa Club dinner of national political powerhouses in Washington, D.C., at the end of January. While she's not always been in Juneau, that is the only time Palin has left the state through the first half of the 90-day legislative session. Nearly half of Alaska's legislators left for an energy conference in Washington, D.C., last week, shutting down the session.
Anchorage Republican Rep. Mike Hawker, who stayed in Juneau while his colleagues attended the Washington, D.C., conference, said the SarahPAC e-mail describing "travelling the country" made it sound as if she is embarking on another national campaign.
"That's her call and the appropriateness will be determined by voters in the next election," he said.
Stapleton said SarahPAC will be paying for the governor to attend a celebration of Alaska's 50th anniversary of statehood in June at William Seward's former home in New York state. Seward was the secretary of state who negotiated the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia.
"During her travels to promote Alaska, the governor may partake in other events at the same time, but we are still poring over requests," Stapleton said.
SarahPAC was formed earlier this year and is registered in Virginia. Palin said it was meant as a fund for her to travel to events that could be considered political without the state paying for it. Wednesday's e-mail from the PAC asked for donations to "support the Governor's efforts to reform government and help elect leaders who share our conservative values."
Stapleton said there are three people who work for SarahPAC. The other two are on the East Coast, she said. Details and the rest of the PAC's finances won't be released until the required federal disclosure later this year. Stapleton said she and the others are working out of their homes at this point.
"There are a few of us who are working on the PAC because she has just so many invitations and so many requests -- whether it's to speak or sign things or whatever it may be -- that really need to go somewhere," she said.