31 • Policy and government affairs director •
Idaho School Boards Association • Boise
From crossing the continental divide on a 40-mile backpacking trip to striking down controversial bills in the legislature, Quinn Perry believes that the first part of achieving success begins with opening the mind and believing in one’s abilities to succeed.
This concept was ingrained in Perry early in life. As a child, she was constantly surrounded by politics. With both parents working with public information — her father a newspaper editor and her mother a public information officer at a local community college — Perry developed an interest in politics at a young age.
“I would be dragged to political events since I was a child,” Perry said. “This really provided an interesting view of politics, because it was never partisan.”
Following in her parents’ footsteps, Perry decided to study mass communication in college in order to make an impact on her community.
“I knew that I wanted to work for a cause and not a company,” she says.
After graduating from Boise State University with a bachelor’s degree, Perry began her career working and volunteering for various nonprofit organizations, including Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Interfaith Sanctuary Housing Services. During that time, Perry was connected with the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA).
Perry realized how easy it is to connect with Idaho lawmakers and saw she could make a difference by working in politics, she says.
ITLA Street Law Clinic
Perry brought her passion for helping her community into fruition with the creation of the ITLA Street Law Clinic. It started when Erica Burch, member of the board of directors at ITLA, approached Perry with the idea of building a free, on-the-spot clinic for people who weren’t able to navigate the civil justice system.
Thanks to a collaboration of efforts from numerous community partners, including the Boise Public Library and volunteer law students and lawyers, the ITLA Street Law Clinic opened in 2013 and continues to be available to the community.
Looking toward the future
Today, Perry has turned her focus toward improving the community through education. As the policy and governmental affairs director for the Idaho School Boards Association, Perry works tirelessly to give each Idaho child an equitable education, regardless of where they reside and the district in which they live.
“Public school to me is the most American thing about America. I think it is so cool that every child is provided the opportunity to get a free, thorough, public education,” Perry says.
She acknowledges that Idaho’s educational system has a long way to go, but vows to continue advocating for Idaho students.
“It’s just like backpacking for 40 miles,” she says, “you have to acknowledge that there’s a challenge and figure out how to get through it.”