Meet Paula

Growing up on the family farm north of Flandreau, I helped with the cattle and the hogs, baled hay and harvested corn and beans with my sister and brothers.  The 80s farm crisis hit us hard, but we kept the farm intact, though not without experiencing serious financial hardship.  That struggle left an indelible mark on my life and development.  I developed a deep understanding and respect for the incredible dedication and hard-work it takes to make a family farm work in South Dakota.

My high school science teachers really inspired me to follow my passion for science and when I graduated, I chose to study biology in college.  Following in my father and my sister's footsteps, I headed to SDSU to earn my degree.  While attending SDSU, I worked part-time as a nursing assistant at the nursing home in Brookings.  Working with the seniors in my care, I developed strong relationships with them and learned to appreciate the special concerns faced by our senior citizens.

I met my husband, Steve, at SDSU, where he was a physics major.  Steve grew up on his parents’ ranch near Faith.  We got married on my parents’ farm, and started our life together as we were finishing our last year at State. After our first daughter, Ruby, was born I got my teaching certificate.  I spent 10 years teaching at West Central High School.  During that time our son, Tristan, was born.  Also during that time, I attended USD to get my master’s degree in Technology for Education and Training.  I lost my mother to cancer just months before I finished my degree and three years before our youngest daughter, Amelia, was born.

I left my classroom in 2012, and decided to run for the South Dakota State Legislature.  I have served in that role for three years now, and have worked diligently for my constituents in District 9, and for all of South Dakota.  Because the legislature is a citizen-legislature and not a full-time job, I also work as a training specialist in the banking industry.  I develop and deliver compliance and leadership training, as well as federal banking regulation training.  This experience in the business world has rounded out my understanding of the many facets of the South Dakota economic landscape.

I am running for the U.S. House because I believe it is imperative to restore opportunity and fairness to our system of government. A system that has gotten off course, and needs to be redirected so it can work for all of us.  A system that works for my father in his older years and for my children as they grow.  A system that works for my husband and me and the rest of the hardworking South Dakotans making their lives in our great state.