The Interesting Life of State Rep Bernie Perryman [AUDIO]
State Representative Bernadette Perryman joined me on WJON to participate in our "My Life" series. Perryman grew up in Belleville, Illinois with her 2 brothers and a sister. Her Dad left her Mom before she was born and Perryman credits her Grandmother for playing a big role in raising her. Bernie went to a Catholic grade school and high school. She says she encountered some challenges growing up because the negative treatment she received in school from nuns and her peers because she came from divorced parents.
Perryman was interested in sports in school participating in both volleyball and basketball. She says she really enjoyed being part of a team. Out of High School she didn't have a clear vision as to what she would do next. She decided after a short period of time to apply to Quincy College in Illinois. Perryman explained she always wanted to be a business person. After graduation from Quincy she took a job back in Belleville at the Junior College bookstore before getting a job at Anheuser Busch. She worked at Anheuser Busch for 20 years seeing her responsibilities change over the years. Perryman became a Regional Vice President at Anheuser Busch and one of her territories included Minnesota.
Perryman developed a strong relationship with with Arlen Carlson, the Owner of C&L Distributing in St. Cloud, which was an Anheuser Busch distributor. Carlson reached out to Perryman and offered her part ownership of the company if she would help run the company in St. Cloud. She accepted the offer in part to reduce travel. Bernie and her husband, Keith relocated to St. Cloud in 1999. She stayed at C&L until 2012 when she was bought out by members of the Carlson family. Perryman took a job in Bemidji running the Anheuser Busch distributor there for 3 years before returning to St. Cloud to be the beer Regional Manager for Viking Coke. After 2 years she left Viking Coke to become the owner of Batteries Plus Bulbs stores in St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids which she still owns today.
After owning Batteries Plus Bulbs for 8 months Perryman was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent treatments and recently celebrated 5 years of being cancer free. Perryman was appreciative of the support she received from her husband, family and employees at Batteries Plus Bulbs.
Perryman was elected as State Representative in November of 2022 and was sworn in in January of 2023. She feels it is important to serve the public and create a better community.
If you'd like to listen to my 4-part conversation with Bernie Perryman it is available below.