Editor’s Note: As always, Vinton Today invites all of our political candidates to share in their own words their life story and their goals for the office they are seeking. Today we hear from Paula Denison, the Democratic candidate for Iowa House District 75, in her own words.

I am Paula Denison. I grew up in Iowa City and moved with my husband, Neal, to Van Horne in 2012. We are products of public education having both graduated from Iowa City High School. I graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. I live in Iowa because the people of Iowa are hardworking, honest and caring. We support our family, friends, and our communities because it’s the right thing to do.

I learned about hard work from my parents. My father was a high school graduate who furthered his education in technical school. He owned a small business and taught me that employees were investments rather than expenses. He paid wages that are still significantly higher than minimum wage. He provided group health insurance. He provided educational opportunities for all of his employees.

After working alongside my father for many years, my mother followed her dreams and became a nurse. She followed the path from Kirkwood Community College to the University of Iowa College of Nursing and finally onto the University of Phoenix where she obtained her Masters in Nursing. She accomplished those goals while raising four children. My mother taught me how to knuckle down and study despite the many distractions of life.

I learned to pay attention to people from my grandmother. She was a kindergarten teacher. She often had supplies in her room for kids who did not have enough. They never had to ask, there was always a cabinet with pencils, paper, snacks, even underwear and pants… it was kindergarten after all. Her kids never had to ask, the cabinet was always full and always unlocked.

We work hard in Iowa. We sit back and enjoy the quiet countryside, the distance between us and the horizon. We have been comfortable. Unfortunately, our government has been hard at work too. However, they are not working for us. They are passing legislation every day that undermines our opportunities. Whenever given the chance, our present government has voted against our interests in favor of corporations that will not allow profits to trickle down to the working class. They have voted against work place safety and reduced benefits that injured workers receive. They have voted against funding our public schools which so desperately need it. The current government was so brazen that it actually voted to reduce the wages of hundreds of thousands of Iowa workers. Let’s think about that again, they actually voted to reduce the wages of the lowest paid people in Iowa. How is that acceptable?

I believe its time our government was reflective of our values. The people I have met in Benton and Iowa Counties are deeply concerned that their representatives in the legislature have forgotten about them. I don’t blame them. It’s clear that their representative in the Iowa House did forget about them. It was clear when she voted to reduce worker compensation benefits, it was clear when she voted to lower their wages. It was clear when she voted to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. It was clear when she voted repeatedly to underfund education. It was clear when she remained silent about the catastrophe of privatized Medicaid.

I will not be silent. I will stand up for the citizens of Benton and Iowa Counties. I will fight for your dignity, your wages, your safety, and your rights. I ask for your support in this election. Early voting has begun. The general election is November 6.

We just had to ask… 

As with the other candidates, we gave Paula a chance to answer some of our silly questions.

Here, again in her own words, are some fun facts about Paula:

Q. Is there anything that your family asks you not to cook, ever again?

A. Tuna and noodles

Q. Your oddest cooking idiosyncrasy?

A. I am a full contact cook. My husband complains that I make a total mess in the kitchen.

Q. Does it matter in your house which way the toilet paper roll goes?

A. Over of course.

Q. Tell us about your favorite chair?

A. I don’t currently have a favorite chair. But the chair I think of most fondly is the papasan chair I would study all night in during college. Lots of all-nighters pulled in that chair.

Q. Funniest memory as a parent:

A. Neal and I have dogs… anytime you blame one of them for being in badness, they sell the other two out immediately.

Q. Best fast food sandwich ever?

A. Arby’s French Dip.

Q. What was your first job?

A. McDonald’s.

Q. Worst habit you would admit?

A. Swearing

Q. If you were to get a traffic citation it would most likely be for….

A. Speeding

Q. One place in the world you really, really wish you could visit?

A. Norway

Q. First pet you remember?

A. Border Collie named Taffy.

Q. Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

A. Jim Gommels was my 7th grade world history teacher. He challenged us to open our eyes and see the world from other perspectives.

Q. Strangest thing you did at work that was not part of your official job description?

A. Every job I have ever had has included “other duties as assigned”. One of my favorite jobs was picking up the ice cream order before staff meetings.

Q. Favorite candy bar?

A. Twix

Q. Iowa or Iowa State?

A. I bleed black and gold.

Q. Are there any sayings your parents repeated over and over that you can still remember clearly?

A. Breathe in, breathe out.

Q. How would your children answer that question?

A. Again, dogs… so something like, get in the house, come here, come here, come here

Q. Favorite Author:

A. Iris Johanson,

Q. Favorite Actor:

A. Unknown. Who has time for movies these days?

Q. Favorite President:

A. Of my lifetime, Barack Obama. Historically, Franklin Roosevelt.

Q. Favorite planet:

A. Earth

Q. Favorite household or yard chore?

A. Planting flowers.

Q. What happened to the dinosaurs?

A. Asteroid?

Q. Favorite car?

A. 1954 Kaiser Darrin

Q. Favorite poem?

A. And still I Rise, Maya Angelou

Q. Favorite song?

A. Too many to list.

Q. Funniest joke you can remember, and tell:

A. Bear walks into a bar. Second one ducks.

Q. What book or author you have not read, but should?

A. Anything by Jimmy Carter.

Q. Is there anything you wish we would have asked you?

A. Who is my role model?