In running for Idaho governor, Paulette Jordan seeks a number of firsts

She could be first woman governor of Idaho, among other landmarks.

November 4, 2018, 1:53 PM

If Paulette Jordan is able to defeat Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little, she could become Idaho’s first Democratic governor since Cecil Andrus retired in 1999.

She could also become the state’s first female governor.

And, in the United States, she could become the first Native American governor.

A win is no small task for a Democrat in a red state like Idaho, but Jordan views her platform as pressing in this current political climate, especially amid the "pink wave" of female candidates seeking office and the "MeToo" movement of women speaking out about sexual harassment and assault.

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

As a student at the University of Washington, she said on her campaign website that she discovered a love of politics and grassroots activism. After graduation, she moved home to Idaho and became the youngest person elected to the Coeur d'Alene tribal council.

In 2014, she ran for the Idaho House of Representatives and defeated an incumbent Republican. In her two terms, she promoted progressive policies, such as a teacher loan forgiveness bill. Among her campaign issues are better rural education, wider access to healthcare and stronger economic development and opportunity in the state’s struggling communities, according to her website.

Jordan said “she was birthed into politics” and her upbringing helped pave the way for her political quest to be governor. Her grandfather was a chief of their tribe and her Toop’ya (grandmother) was a prominent figure in their community.

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

ABC News’ Erica Y. King contributed to this report.

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