Paulette Jordan campaign trail stops in Southeast Idaho this week
Local residents will have an opportunity to ask Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan questions about her newfound national political stardom as well as her recent campaign turmoil when she visits Pocatello on Thursday.
Jordan has received extensive national and local media coverage for running a historical campaign that could end with her becoming both the nation’s first Native American governor and the state’s first female governor. Her aspirations to head the state could be derailed, however, as much of the recent media attention for Jordan has involved the decision of several top-level staff members to depart from her campaign less than two months before voters cast their ballots on Nov. 6.
Despite the recent shake-up, a decision the campaign has said was planned and enacted to better serve Idahoans, Jordan continues along the campaign trail. Accompanied by Aaron Swisher, a U.S. House of Representatives candidate, Jordan will be in Pocatello on Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Labor Temple, which is at 456 N. Arthur Ave.
Hosted by the Bannock County Democrats, the event is a fundraiser to help empower young Idahoans to make a difference through involvement in Democratic politics. Tickets are $10 per adult, and $5 per student with valid student IDs.
Before stopping in Pocatello, Jordan will speak to the Idaho Falls City Club on Thursday. Lunch runs from 12 to 12:30 p.m. followed by the candidate presentation until 1 p.m. and a moderated question-and-answer session until 1:30 p.m. The forum will be in the ISU Bennion Student Union multipurpose room, located at 1784 Science Center Dr. in Idaho Falls. Tickets are $17 including a member lunch, $22 for a nonmember lunch and $5 for gallery seating. Tickets can be bought online at ifcityclub.com.
For Jordan, a 38-year-old member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe who hails from Plummer and opted to run for governor rather than seek a third term as a state representative, her national stardom has less to do with her race, gender or political party association and is more so centered around the type of campaign she’s embarked upon.
“You look at my campaign and we are clearly not the typical campaign — we are very grassroots and are driven by high energy,” Paulette said. “We haven’t seen that in a while among young generations like myself and the one beyond me. People are seeing there is a whole new opportunity and they are finding a way into government because of my position, which I love because everyone knows they truly do have a seat at the table.”
Jordan says her campaign is based on the notion of inclusivity, an idea that is unusual in a political climate dominated by partisan relationships. For many, Jordan says her leadership style brings a sense of freshness, vibrancy and is a change of course from the status quo of electing the same type of people over and over again.
“People are tired of seeing the same old, same old,” Jordan said. “There are these intergenerational legacies in politics and I think people are tired of seeing that. They want to see new leadership that is based on the people from the people, someone who is like them and wasn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth. I’m not a millionaire and was raised to be a servant leader of others to others.”
Someone who is progressively conservative is another label Jordan hasn’t been quick to endorse.
“People have said that I’m reminiscent of a progressive conservative, but I think that’s just more of how people see me,” Jordan said. “I don’t like to be labeled as anything. I am just purely Idahoan. As an indigenous woman I project myself as being more connected to the land and the people than to the politics.”
Jordan says that she is fiscally conservative and that she holds true to conservative values, but has also heard that she is very progressive in that she promotes certain innovative ideals that people want more of.
“Especially when people see that I am big on expanding medicaid but also promoting more affordable and accessible health care,” Jordan added. “Ideally, I want to ensure that we are seeking objectives that are more sensible. I am progressive with education, pro-small business and public lands, pro-environment and supportive of women’s rights.”
In terms of the economy, Jordan says she comes not with a perspective of being anti-corporate, but about being business responsible.
“As a business woman in the last eight years working in my capacity as a State Representative, I’ve worked with many large and small businesses. I know that once I’m Governor I want to bring small businesses to the forefront because they are the backbone of our economy. I want to make sure that we are balancing out local businesses with the corporations in our state, especially when we are wanting to attract new corporations and businesses like those in the tech sector.”
If she becomes governor, Jordan says she wants people to know that she will appoint both Republicans and Democrats to her administration.
“I want all perspectives to be heard,” Jordan said. “So that when we move forward we are building the next four years upon a society that isn’t specific to a party. We want to reunite the parties building the next four years together so we are uniting all voices. To build a stronger Idaho moving forward we have to do this because that is what our Constitution was built off of — that culture of freedom and independence.”
For Jordan, her gubernatorial bid has received national media coverage not because of her as a person, but because of the values her campaign brings and how it resonates with people outside of Idaho. And to her, that is what matters most, she said.
“Whether you are in rural Idaho or the growing space of Boise, people are seeing what they truly desire in government and that is what is most important,” Jordan said. “But really, our message is important because it reflects the way of life for all Americans.”