By William L. Spence

Idaho state Rep. Paulette Jordan announced Thursday that she's running for governor in 2018, with the goal of helping Idaho become "the state it's destined to become."

Speaking to a crowd of about 60 family members and friends on the occasion of her 38th birthday, the two-term Plummer Democrat put on full display her hopes and dreams for the state that raised her.

"I don't want (Idaho) to be just a state," she said. "I want to make Idaho the state that it's destined to become, which is the greatest state in the history of the United States. We can get there."

The announcement comes about a month after fellow Democrat and Boise businessman A.J. Balukoff filed paperwork for a second run at Idaho's top elected position. Balukoff lost to incumbent Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in the 2014 general election by a margin of 54 percent to 39 percent, after spending millions of dollars in his own money.

Jordan noted that Moscow economist Judy Brown will serve as her campaign treasurer.

"She's going to take on this next battle with me," she said.

Jordan set a high bar for her administration from the start, saying when people ask her what she's going to do to improve the world, "I tell them I'm going to run for governor and under my term improve the system and make sure we defend humanity at all cost."

"There will be zero tolerance for violence," she said. "There will be zero tolerance for sexual harassment, and zero tolerance for drug abuse or child abuse. And there will be zero tolerance for discrimination in any form -- and that's what this state is known for right now. The system is so corrupt, we have to fix it. If we don't do anything, nothing will improve."

When asked what her zero-tolerance goal means in terms of practical policies, Jordan said it "comes down to leadership."

"If a leader isn't (voicing) what they're for, nothing happens," she said.

Jordan currently represents the 5th Legislative District, which includes Latah and Benewah counties.

She first ran for the Legislature in 2012, losing to Republican Cindy Agidius by 123 votes in the closest legislative race in the state. The two squared off again in 2014, with Jordan prevailing by 524 votes. She was re-elected in 2016, and currently is the only remaining Democratic lawmaker north of Boise.

(c)2017 the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho)