More than 100 people packed a community center and bingo hall in Unalakleet, Alaska, Friday to greet Gov. Sarah Palin as she signed a bill continuing state subsidies for rural electricity.
The remote town, which is only reachable by plane, was an unlikely stop for Palin during her last days in office before she steps down July 26.
"I am Alaskan. I've grown up here and I'm going to remain in Alaska," Palin told reporters. "It's not farewell, it's more like thanks for letting me be here and I'll see you soon."
Families gathered to shake the governor's hand and ask for an autograph. Several posed with her for pictures and Palin hugged one mother whose baby has Down syndrome. Palin's youngest child Trig was diagnosed with Down syndrome as well.
Agnes Baptiste, who posed with Palin, said she was grateful the governor took the time to visit Unalakleet, which is 400 miles northwest of Anchorage.
"It's remarkable we can have the opportunity to see her in this community," Baptiste said. Palin "has brought a lot to our state. Whatever endeavor she pursues, I know she'll have Alaska in mind."
Gov. Palin said she is eager to begin life as a private citizen.
"Once I am 'Sarah Palin, Alaskan,' I can really call it like I see it," she said.
She waved off any talk of running for president.
"I look forward to continuing to work for Alaska and for energy independence and for the contribution that Alaska could and should be making to allow our nation to be more secure and more prosperous," she said.
Davida Hanson, co-owner of a Pizzeria, said she sees a little of herself in Palin.
"She wants to be a mom and a family person. It's not a bad thing," Hanson said. "I love her!"