I was challenged several weeks ago to look at the record of Sarah Palin and John McCain and compare that to the alternative to see who would be best for California businesses and families.

I own a technology company with my husband that deals with custom software in the health care and life science industries. I’ve been on the front lines dealing with issues like workplace flexibility as an advocate for jobs and competitiveness.

I wanted to get past the “fad” and Rock Star appeal. What is “Palin Power”? Is she really a “Barracuda”? Will she help working women as “Sarah the Riveter”? Or, is she just “Caribou Barbie”?

Unless you are “Hilary”, “Oprah”, “Angelina” or “Madonna”, it’s uncommon to be known by your first name and receive immediate name ID. But in a short 35 days since her selection to the Republican ticket, “Sarah” has become a phenomenon – the glasses, the Tina Fey jokes, those fabulous boots she wore to her first appearance in Silicon Valley this past Sunday. “Rock star” is an understatement.

But is that enough?

Can Sarah Palin relate to my struggles to balance home, family, and the checkbook? Does she understand working families who struggle with soaring gas prices, running a business verses running their kids to sports practice, while seeking quality in their lives?

Pre-Palin, the Republican Party had a failure to communicate. This isn’t John McCain’s fault. It has been coming for some time as a general malaise towards both Republicans and Democrats who can’t seem to find a middle ground to solve problems. As the media focuses on the bickering, they ignore those who try to find consensus without compromising principles. Leaders like Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill – two tough Irishmen who did it in the 1980’s – didn’t have 24 hour Internet coverage.

Governor Palin is a chief executive who has worked across and against party lines, just as John McCain has. She is a mother of five about to become a grandmother at age 44, the first Blue Star Mom ever nominated to a major ticket, and the primary caretaker of a child with Downs Syndrome. She conquers moose in Alaska, has stood up to oil companies, found alternative sources of fuel, and isn’t afraid to drill at ANWR.

Palin is tough as nails. She has put up with the most vitriolic attacks ever hoisted on a woman running for office. They’ve attacked her family, her character, and fabricated her stands on just about every issue. It’s baseless and it’s wrong. And spreading untruths via the Internet has caused a smokescreen of fear towards this woman rarely seen in American politics.

This lady is the Governor of a frontier state – she’s fought the system and won.

There is no doubt that California needs change. We cannot continue to spend money without consequence and pass it on hoping that others will pay the bills.

The policies that John McCain and Sarah Palin propose are better for California businesses and will provide a pathway to our future competitiveness through R&D tax credits and a new refundable health care tax credit that will help us move away from employer-based health insurance to a more flexible system that allows consumers to purchase plans across state lines. This empowers consumers. The cost of health insurance will go down with more flexibility and choice.

Democrats have their communicator in the form of Barak Obama. Now Republicans have theirs in Sarah Palin.

But don’t take my word for it – talk to John Chambers, Meg Whitman, Tom Siebel, Carly Fiorina – or any of the other titans of technology supporting the McCain-Palin ticket in California. They worked with Governor Schwarzenegger and the legislature to pass A.B. 10, legislation which clarifies California’s laws governing computer professionals. This step forward makes regulation more relevant and will help the software, networking, and Internet sectors provide hundreds of thousands of jobs for Californians – good paying jobs that will bring professionals here. It is exactly the type of change we need to deal with emerging sectors of our economy.

Technology leaders know that the key to California competitiveness is investment in its workforce – not mandates on business. They believe government should get off our backs and out of our wallets.

Sarah Palin’s entry on the Republican ticket has created a spark – the room was packed with thousands of supporters in Silicon Valley last Sunday when she was here. Her straightforward appeal has incited the greatest movement of self-organizing among free market economic conservatives and working professionals we have seen since Ronald Reagan. We have found our voice and the change we need for California.