Paulette grew up in rural Northern Idaho in a family rooted in agriculture and caring for the land. This humble upbringing instilled in her the values of strength in the face of challenge and adversity, diligence in loving and helping family and neighbors, and pride in hard work and service. Paulette credits much of her leadership abilities and knowledge to having remarkable and wise role models who instilled in her the importance of taking action and fighting for justice while stressing the significance of first listening with an open heart and mind to a wide range of perspectives and ideas.
While pursuing her undergraduate degrees in communications, comparative literature and American Indian studies at the University of Washington, Paulette became an active member in student government and developed a reputation for being a voice for her peers. Never one to be able to sit on the sidelines, Paulette revealed in the impact she could make by uniting people in community and engagement to bring forth positive and crucial changes. After she graduated, she ran for Coeur d’Alene tribal council and became the youngest member to be elected.
Through her experience in state government, Paulette has come to value her role as a guardian of the state’s best interests, working to leverage the position of the people through her membership in the Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee, the Energy, Environment & Technology Committee, State Hospital North Advisory Board, Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and Idaho Legislative Council.
Paulette also serves as Chair of the Energy, Natural Resources, and Transportation Committee for the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators, is a member of the Idaho Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and is an elected member of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Executive Board of Directors. She is serving her second term as Secretary and also chairs the finance committee and the energy committee within NIGA.