What a coincidence: Father, daughter crossed paths with Republican ticket

It is an interesting parallel, and one Sara Taft doesn’t mind sharing.

It is an interesting parallel, and one Sara Taft doesn’t mind sharing.

You see, the Auburn woman went to college with a widely recognized Sarah, and her father went to the U.S Naval Academy with a well-known senator who happens to be running for president.

Talk about coincidence.

“It’s crazy,” Sara Taft said when Republican presidential candidate John McCain selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, 44, as his running mate.

“The fact we shared the same first name stood out,” said Taft, who works as a human resources manager for a vehicle auction company. “But that’s all I could remember.

“I didn’t know her at all. I only remember her name being called in a couple of my classes,” she said. “I would look up thinking the instructor was at first calling my name, and then I’d look to see who the other Sarah was, because there were never any Sarahs in school with me growing up. So it stood out.”

Taft attended the University of Idaho with Palin when she was Sarah Heath. They shared a couple of classes and graduated in 1987 – Taft with a degree in communications, Heath with a degree in journalism.

And Taft’s dad, Denis Taft, graduated in 1958 from Annapolis with McCain before they went to flight school together in Pensacola, Fla.

But beyond sharing roll call and the classroom, the Tafts know little of the two forces who represent the Republican ticket.

They share similar backgrounds, however, a time in their lives when they crossed paths, only to follow different roads to entirely different destinations.

“It’s such a funny parallel,” Sara Taft said. “Here is my dad and I. We have the same basic education as Palin and McCain, yet we have different careers.

“It’s timing and choice,” she continued. “It’s about wanting it and making those decisions.”

Instead of seeking power and politics, Sara Taft pursued the hustle and bustle of business. She’s been successful

at it for 10 years in Auburn.

Her father, meanwhile, wound up as a test pilot in the Navy and conducted refueling flights in Vietnam. A captain, he retired with honors before working at Boeing in the military division.

“My dad always said that if you wanted something enough, you can go out and achieve it,” Sara Taft added.

These days, the distinguished veteran prefers to keep a low profile.

The Tafts, a military family, bounced around from one country and one city to another before setting down roots in the Puget Sound.

Not one to be inflamed by politics, Sara Taft is, nonetheless, interested in the presidential choices and says Palin’s arrival on the GOP ticket spices up the race. She intends to study the sides before casting her vote for either McCain-Palin or the Democratic tandem of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

McCain surprised many when he picked Palin, a relative newcomer to politics who has been in the governor’s office for just 20 months.

Sara Taft also is surprised, but is willing to watch and listen as the rhetoric and the debates rage in the weeks ahead.

“She sounds like somebody who will do things differently,” Taft said. “Whether things will change? Well, they will certainly try.”

Palin’s rise to prominence has brought a new perspective to Taft.

“It has me started thinking, ‘I could do more in my community,’ she said, “ ‘and I could get to know more people in the community.’ ”

Mark Klaas can be reached at

253-833-0218, ext. 5050, or