Path To Power
Born in 1965 in Bakersfield, Calif., Paulsen was raised in the suburbs of the Twin Cities.
After graduating from St. Olaf College, Paulsen worked in the private sector before joining the staff of Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.).
Through July 2010, Paulsen voted with House Republicans 93.8 percent of the time in the 11th Congress.
In 2010, Paulsen was named the co-chair of a working group aimed at helping ratify a free trade pact between the U.S. and South Korea.
Paulsen is a longtime ally of Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), who preceded Paulsen as the majority leader in the Minnesota House. While in St. Paul together, the pair were supporters of balancing budgets without new taxes. Paulsen may be a key ally for Pawlenty's prospective 2012 White House bid. Paulsen has introduced Pawlenty to younger members of Congress, according to Roll Call.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is Paulsen's mentor. During the 2008 race, Cantor named Paulsen to the "Young Guns" program aimed at aiding young, conservative candidates. After the election, Paulsen signaled he would support Cantor in his eventual successful bid to become minority whip saying, ""He's someone who wants to bring the party brand back to its roots. He wants to restore the roots of the party back to fiscal discipline and fiscal responsibility."