Worley, Idaho—Coeur d’Alene tribal member Paulette Jordan, running for the Democratic seat in the Idaho House of Representatives in the Fifth District, has her sights set on becoming the next American Indian to serve in that state’s legislature.
With the goal of both raising money for her campaign and increasing her recognition among tribes, she held a fund-raiser recently at Circling Raven Golf Club on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation. It started with a golf tournament in the afternoon and segued into a party attended by golfers and non-golfers alike. Golfers paid $125 each to play, and party-only attendees paid $25.
Though the event was open to all, it was mainly directed at tribal people. Jordan has been holding numerous events to both raise money and increase her name recognition among American Indians.
“They’re every bit as much a part of this as I am,” she told Indian Country Today Media Network at the fund-raiser. “I put tribes in the forefront with everything I do. I wanted to include all the tribes, especially our sister tribes in the Northwest, in a fun way to contribute and be part of it.”
She wants to reach out to regional tribes and include them in the campaign.
“There are a whole slew of events going on: house events, dinners, speaking engagements, parades and fairs,” she said. “When I go to these events I don’t see any tribal people.”
No American Indians presently serve in the Idaho legislature, despite the fact that five reservations are located within the state’s borders.
“Everything about my campaign has been very innovative, new, fresh, very much against the process that everyone follows,” she said. “I felt we needed to be innovative, and this golf tournament would be a nice way to ignite not only younger generations but those who aren’t necessarily involved in politics.”
Representatives were present from the Kalispel, Puyallup, Spokane, Colville, and Coeur d’Alene tribes. Another tribe or two couldn’t send anyone, but donated. In total a little more than 50 people attended, and roughly $3,000 was raised.
Alex Schulte, Northern Ute and now a professional woman golfer, was a celebrity guest at the tournament. She and Jordan met at a National Indian Gaming Association meeting and have become close friends.
“She called,” Jordan said, “and wanted to know how she could help. I told her she was more than welcome to come. She helped add more competition to the golf event. She flew in from Florida to support the cause.”
Bill Douglas golfed at the fund-raiser. Douglas, a Hawaiian Native, served as Kootenai County Prosecutor for 20 years and the past three years as Chief Judge of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. He has been involved in many political races and is experienced in campaigns.
“I can tell you Paulette is running a first class campaign,” he said. “It’s been all positive, and I have every confidence she’s going to win on November 5.”
Douglas added, “I can’t think of any better candidate for state legislature to restore the debate that’s sorely needed. It’s been a one-sided political system for too long. Paulette brings fresh ideas. She brings the perspective of the working people and those who really need a voice in Boise, and not just the Indian nations but all people who are struggling to make a living.”
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