This Woman Could Become the First Native American Governor in US History
Paulette Jordan is a historic candidate for many reasons.
In a normal election year, being a woman and being Native American is not exactly a recipe for electoral success, especially at the gubernatorial level.
Fewer than 1 in 5 political offices nationwide are held by women — and only 39 women have ever held governorships. Only two Native Americans currently serve in Congress, and none have been elected governor.
Paulette Jordan, running for governor in the state of Idaho, is trying to buck both of these trends.
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Jordan won the Democratic primary in Idaho Tuesday night with nearly 60 percent of votes, and will now face Republican candidate Brad Little in November’s gubernatorial election. If she wins, she will be the first female governor in the state of Idaho and the first-ever Native American governor, HuffPost reports.
“We are not afraid, and never again will we stand down,” Jordan said at a campaign rally, adding: “We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
“This is a huge step for us and I’m excited to be on this journey with all of you,” she told Indian Country Today. “This is a great indicator of where we as Indigenous progressive leaders in rural states can help lead our communities.”
The challenges facing Indigenous communities in the United States are numerous.
An estimated 1 in 3 Indigenous children live below the federal poverty level, and nearly 1 in 4 lacked access to health insurance, according to the 2014 American Community Survey.
Political representation of Native Americans is currently limited to two congressmen — and Native Americans are among the demographics with the lowest voter participation rates in the country.
But Jordan’s candidacy could pave the way for the next generation of Native American and female leaders.
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