PASCO, Wash. — Sarah Palin is excited to be in the Tri-Cities.
Moments after arriving by private jet Wednesday evening from Orlando, Fla., she told reporters, "It's kind of surreal. But it's really good to be back in the Tri-Cities to reconnect with the roots."
The former Alaska governor's last visit with family here was about a year ago, she said during an impromptu news conference as she held her son Trig and her daughter Piper stood next to her.
"I like the summer here," she said.
Her husband, Todd, she added, stayed at home "fixing the roof."
"I need to call him," said Palin, who plans to be in the Tri-Cities through Sunday. She said she's thankful for the safe return of her son Track from Iraq and also for those who serve the country so others can enjoy their freedom and ideals.
She said she is looking forward to spending time with relatives in the Tri-Cities. "I like the wonderful chaos of the family (at Thanksgiving)," she said.
The former GOP vice presidential candidate said she doesn't know about her political future yet. But she wants America to become energy independent and be secure. "I don't need a title to help."
Politicians often forget small towns are the backbone of the U.S. economy, Palin said, noting that the Hanford nuclear reservation and its workers helped keep the nation secure. She described the Tri-Cities as "an industrious area."
She and her family were registered to run in Thursday's Turkey Trot in Kennewick's Columbia Park.
"Leaving Florida to meet family from Texas/Alaska/Washington. We run in Red Cross charity 5k race tmrrw in Richland b4 Thanksgiving dinner..." Palin said earlier on Twitter.
They were expected to join about 3,000 participants for the annual event.
The Benton-Franklin Chapter of the Red Cross notified the Kennewick Police Department that Palin planned to attend, confirmed Jeanne Jelke, local Red Cross executive director.
Palin's only other scheduled public appearance is her book signing in Richland, Wash., from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday.