Paul Bell was born October 3, 1950 in Algona, Iowa, one of three children of Alfred and Luellna Bell of nearby Whittemore.
Paul attended St. Paul Lutheran School in Whittemore through the 8th grade, and then attended Algona High School, where he played sports and graduated in 1968. He attended Des Moines Area Community College and earned a degree in political science from the University of Northern Iowa in 1973.
He married his wife, Niki, in 1971. The Bells moved to Newton in 1973 when Niki got a job as a teacher. Paul worked briefly at Maytag, and then became a Newton police officer in 1974. Niki recently retired from the Area Education Agency in the Newton School System working with kids who have speech problems. Paul and Niki have two children, Allison and Brad.
As a police officer Paul became alarmed at increased drug abuse by teenagers and became involved in the Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (DARE) program. He served as the first statewide president of the DARE Association and has fought hard for state funding for the DARE program as a legislator. Over the years he has taught thousands of students in the Newton area about the dangers of drug use.
Paul was also elected president of the local police union for ten years. In his work with the Police Association, he has helped raise money for handicapped children and other charities.
Paul retired from the Newton Police Department after 31 years of service. Paul has taken on the job of Director of Security at the Iowa Speedway in Newton.
Paul has served sixteen years in the House and, because of his law enforcement background, has provided leadership to other lawmakers on crime-related legislation. He has served as the ranking Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that funds Iowa’s criminal justice system, from prosecutors and law enforcement to the courts and prisons. He is now the Chair Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.
Paul belongs to the First Lutheran Church of Newton where he has served on the church council. He is a past president of the YMCA and past president of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which coordinates programs and activities for local seniors.