May 26, 2018, 8:12 AM ET

'Birthed into politics': Paulette Jordan's quest to become 1st Native American governor

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Paulette Jordan, an Idaho gubernatorial candidate from the Coeur d'Alene tribe, says “she was birthed into politics” and her upbringing helped pave the way for her political quest to become the country’s first Native American governor.

She grew up on a quiet and peaceful ranch surrounded by wildlife, bluegrass, and elders who she describes as self-sufficient, full of wisdom and teachings that she has carried along with her in life.

“We are very connected to the land,” Jordan said about her community. “My community is very independent and based around prayers.”

She was raised around leaders and she felt it was her destiny to become one.

“It’s like I inherited a legacy of leadership because of my lineage,” Jordan said. “My responsibility is to continue this legacy.”

Her grandfather was a chief of their tribe and her Toop’ya (grandmother) was a prominent figure in their community who Jordan cherishes most of her most valued memories with as her hero.

PHOTO: Paulette Jordan enjoys a horseback ride in Idaho.Courtesy of Paulette Jordan
Paulette Jordan enjoys a horseback ride in Idaho.

Her Toop’ya was known for being an old, pure soul who never cast judgment on anyone. She was known as the “sweetheart” of the Coeur D’Alene community.

Jordan remembers a time when a member of the tribe was about to face punishment and her Toop’ya intervened to tell others in the community “this is not our way. It’s not who we are as a people.”

Since her death, Jordan, a state legislator, has taken her Toop’ya’s ideologies and used them as her political backbone.

“She was small in size, but powerful in her being,” Jordan said. “She taught me to be good to all people, to be sincere. I learned a lot from her in that regard.”

Jordan cinched Idaho’s recent Democratic gubernatorial primary - a historic win.

The Idaho Statesman in its endorsement of her ahead of the primary said that voters have a choice between electing a traditional candidate or they could "try something – and someone – new".

Former Labor Secretary and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez recently tweeted his congratulations to Jordan saying " A big congratulations to fellow DNC member and Idaho's Democratic nominee for governor @PauletteEJordan! We are inspired by you and can't wait to see you soar in November."

Jordan says she sees her role as “significant” to other women especially amid the current "pink wave" of an increasing number of female candidates seeking office and the "MeToo" movement of women speaking out about sexual harassment and assault.

“We’re breaking one barrier after another,” she said. “I want to inspire them to do more, feel emboldened to take on leadership roles. I want more young women to feel strong.”

Jordan also views her platform as pressing in this current political climate.

“We were able to draw out an election that hasn’t happened in government before, people are now invested in improving the system overall.”

Jordan has other issues she’s focused on as well such as protecting the environment, expanding education resources, healthcare among other topics.

“When we win in November, there will be a major overhaul,” Jordan said. “We’re reminding people this race is about them and building the community. We’re building one Idaho family for the greater good.”

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  • Jim Key

    A resoundingly good idea. Too bad she is not a Republican. Just remember Russel Means and Wounded Knee!

  • Darr247

    Let's start a pool for how long it takes cadet bone spurs to call her pocahontas 2 during one of his twice weekly campaign rallies or thrice weekly golf rounds.

  • snake

    Paulette Jordan's heritage is interesting and her environmental platform and support for better education and healthcare in Idaho sounds like a winning campaign.

  • doug harmon

    wow... she is absolutely gorgeous.

  • jimewins

    "...never cast judgement..." Just what is needed in a governor...not assimilated into the culture of the electorate and reliant upon prayer for guidance. Even in Idaho a bit thin. She and the horse are lovely...is that enough?

  • Ivan Kaufmat

    Beautiful

  • empirewacksback

    She's cute

  • Impetus

    Look, ABC, enough with the "pink wave" thing already. It sounds ridiculous. These women are serious candidates, and you are lumping them all together with a phrase that sounds like a bad day at the wound care clinic.

  • Mwthatch

    I grew up on a reservation, It was a sad place where my friends were kept from achieving their potential by the tribe elders and pressure from jealousy. Liberal principals and ideas have destroyed most Indian Nations, just like they have destroyed the inner cities. People need to wake up to the foolishness of liberal ideology.

  • ChallyFever

    I congratulate her on winning her party's primary. I could care less about her race or creed or gender. Ideology and ideas for policy is what matters in my book. I am not in her state, so I leave it to them for who is best for their state.

  • Red Hawk

    Brains and beauty, she's perfect

  • rightened

    I daresay that Jordan will inevitably have more success than Shri Thanedar of Michigan will.

    All I know is that Governor Rick Snyder is proving to have been a colossal mistake of a choice for this state (who I didn't vote for, incidentally). Here's hoping the next one in office knows how to do his job.

  • ohyes2011

    Good luck Ms. Jordan!

  • Eye Candy

    Congrats to her!! Sure hope she wins.

  • kritikosman

    Yay!!

  • Prophet With Honor

    12.5% of me feels honor bound to support her...the other 87.5% says "what th' hell, go for it".

  • Krimson

    Love the open prejudice from the RW... [/s]

  • nobiases

    Is it a good idea to encouraging voting for someone because they are a particular race or gender? Isn't that something we've been trying to stay away from in America? Don't the standards apply across the board or do they change?

  • Colinalcarz

    Idaho spans two time zones and a range of geographic and political extremes. It seems like three states sometimes. Balancing the interests of all the different and often opposing parties would be a daunting task for any candidate as would be ending rampant corruption, Jordan may be just the person.

  • c.g.

    Good for her....sounds like she would be a great gov.....hope she wins...