She's a Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit Court Judge, but Linda Pauel admitted she doesn't even have the final say at home.
That right belongs to her children, ages 5 and 7.
"They don't care what I do for a living; they still think they're the bosses," she said, laughing.
Pauel, 44, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and now lives in Chicago's Indian Woods Community in Jefferson Park.
"I was in my third year of high school [ at Campion College ] in Jamaica when my family migrated to the U.S.," she said. " [ Since ] I was only 13 years at the time, I was placed in 8th grade in Houston and had to repeat another three years of high school at Clear Creek High School in League City, Texas."
She graduated in 1983. She graduated from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1987.
Pauel, a lesbian, exhibits a witty sense of humor. She's open-minded, but level-headed. "I am not afraid to admit when I make mistakes," she said. "I love meeting new people. I am comfortable in my own skin. "
Here's more about the candidate who admits she often roots for the underdog and has competed in triathlons:
Favorite professional team: "I like many, [ such as ] the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Bulls, and the Reggae Boys," Jamaica's national soccer team.
Favorite pro athlete: Usain Bolt
Dream vacation spot: "Anywhere warm with a beautiful beach and scuba diving"
Favorite movie: Recent: Up. Oldie but goodie: Thelma and Louise.
Favorite TV show: "I haven't watched TV regularly for years. Before they went off the air, [ my favorites included ] Six Feet Under and West Wing."
I'm better than most...: "At forgiving"
In a perfect world...: "people would care less about other people's differences and try to work towards a common good."
Nobody asked me, but...: "people are unemployed, homeless, at war, and we have to hear about Tiger Woods' indiscretions because???"
Favorite actor: Sidney Poitier
Favorite actress: Susan Sarandon
What you do for fun: "Hang with my kids and friends, work out, train for and compete in triathlons, watch rugby, read."
When did you first aspire to entire the political world?: "Not sure I'm there yet. I think judges should be outside the political world. Silly me."
All-time favorite politician, and why: Barack Obama. "He accomplished what many people thought was impossible. Although expectations were incredibly high and he has disappointed some people, he has still been a much greater inspiration to many more."
Favorite TV judge: "Don't have one. Don't watch those shows."
Hobbies: Triathlon, scuba diving, running, swimming
Little-known fact, skill or trait: "My fingers are double-jointed. It serves no purpose in my life other than to gross out my children; their words."
Cubs or White Sox?: "I'm actually not a huge baseball fan, but have been to several Cubs games with friends."
Favorite sport: "I don't have a favorite. I enjoy running, swimming, diving, biking. I used to love playing rugby and soccer, but my body won't let me anymore. I still enjoy watching those sports on TV, as well as football, basketball, track and field ... the list goes on."
Who is the real Linda Pauel?: "Tough question. Probably [ a question ] that's better answered by those who know me. But, if self-proclamation convinces anyone, I hope I'm a good friend and parent, a person of integrity, and someone who will effectuate positive change in my lifetime."
Who is not Linda Pauel: "I am not someone who enjoys being in the spotlight."
Craziest thing you've ever done: "Run for judge in Cook County"
Would you like to be the judge for a super high-profile case, like the O.J. Simpson case?: "Not necessarily. Although the public finds these cases fascinating, they are no more important than the thousands of 'low-profile' cases being decided by judges every day. Parents fighting for custody of their children, families trying to stop the foreclosure of their homes, prostitutes trying to break the cycle of drug addiction and alcoholism, the list goes on. I'd be happy to preside over the courtrooms that deal with these kinds of cases."