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Idaho Musicians Sing in Support of Paulette Jordan

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If Paulette Jordan is elected the next governor of Idaho, the Democrat from Plummer will be the first Native American governor in U.S. history.

Competition for the job is fierce, but Jordan is a strong competitor, and her run for office has garnered attention beyond state borders. In January, Jordan spoke at the Women's March in Las Vegas, which earned her an endorsement from music icon Cher. Jordan said her candidacy is riding a wave of political interest that has activated young people and artists. That helped precipitate The Paulette Jordan for Governor Benefit Concert on Friday, March 16.

"I believe when you have this swell of politics interesting those in the arts, it becomes this culture of enthusiasm. I've seen this both in Idaho and across the country. I like that there's a lot of younger folks that are involved," Jordan said.

The concert will bring together Built to Spill, Eilen Jewell, Brett Netson, Nick Delffs and Tag Along Friend at the Visual Arts Collective, which became a champion of free speech after it successfully sued Idaho State Police over a section of the Idaho Code linking liquor licenses to obscenity laws.

The lineup balances Idaho bands popular outside the state with smaller acts. For Demmi Netson, an organizer of the fundraiser who is also a musician and Brett Netson's daughter, it's a reflection of Jordan's consensus-building around Idaho values. Demmi said she's a proud Idahoan who doesn't always feel well-represented politically. She found in Jordan a candidate in favor of expanding Medicaid, safeguarding public lands and protecting Second Amendment rights.

"[Jordan] is an Idaho progressive, an Idaho Democrat," Demmi said. "I think [she] understands the bigger picture."

Eilen Jewell doesn't often play fundraisers, and this will be her first time performing for the benefit of a particular political candidate. She joined the roster because she agrees with Jordan's position on improving education—a 2017 report by the Rural School and Community Trust showed Idaho ranked dead last in rural per-student spending in the 2015-16 school year, and just five states had lower salaries for instructors than Idaho. The pressure is high for public lands as well, Jewell said, after President Donald Trump slashed the size of a few national monuments in late 2017, and some Idahoans have wondered if the tack of the present administration could bring changes to the nearly 53 million acres of publicly owned land in Idaho.

"We're sliding, or slipping, in the opposite direction [of protecting public lands], and most Idahoans, at least from what I understand, want our public lands to stay public," Jewell said. "I think [Jordan] has our best interests in mind."

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