Joanna Clausen, a veteran teacher and member from Emmett, is running for state senate in District 8.
What inspired you to run for office?
To be honest, Lyn Haun, IEA activist, wife of a former state senator, former colleague, local Democrat, and friend, talked me into it. I’m concerned about the ideological extremism in Idaho government, I’m as qualified as most candidates, and I’m retired, so I had no good (unselfish) reason not to run.
Tell us a bit about your teaching experience.
While a teaching assistant at W.S.U. working on my masters degree I discovered that my real enjoyment came from the teaching, not the researching, so I entered the teacher ed. program at NNC. After one year at Nampa High I returned home to Emmett where I wanted to “pay back” my old teachers who had done so much for me. I intended to teach five years as a kind of public service then go on to a different (better paid) career. I ended up teaching in Emmett for 37 years. I was often frustrated and often worn down, but I was never bored.
In what ways will your teaching experience make you a better legislator?
I can communicate with just about anyone (at least anyone with a teenage brain…will that help?). I’ve learned to work tactfully and respectfully with recalcitrant students and unreasonable administrators. Through my teaching of literature and writing I’ve learned to parse documents and think logically. Through my work with gifted students I’ve continued the habit of being curious about diverse topics.
What legislative issues are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about public education.
What do you do when you’re not campaigning or teaching?
If I had any spare time, I would be sewing (art quilts and sock monkeys dressed as literary characters), reading literary fiction, writing poetry, watercolor painting, remodeling my house, watching art films, listening to music, trying new things, traveling by train, and, most of all, reading stories to my grandson and making him giggle.
Below, Joanna Clausen vanquishes a foe of education at a renaissance fair this summer.