I grew up in Canton, Ohio, a mid-sized Midwestern town with roots in manufacturing and agriculture. We were a working-class family, my dad a steelworker, my mom a homemaker, and my grandfather a proud union leader.
As was the case for most of my friends and neighbors, the next step for me after high school wasn’t college – it was a job. Often it was two or three jobs - an entry-level office job during the day, waitressing at night, and playing music in churches on Sundays. I also took classes part-time at the local community colleges, and then at the University of San Francisco where I finally earned my degree in Applied Economics at age 35. By then I had been working in law firms for several years, and knew that I had it in me to be an advocate and speak up for people who need help. I put myself through law school at U.C. Hastings and graduated in 2007.
My work as an attorney has been in the areas of employment discrimination and legal ethics – in other words, I used to sue employers and now I sue lawyers. Now that I have been practicing law for several years and have some experience under my belt, I frequently take on pro bono cases where I can make a difference for someone who otherwise would not be able to afford legal representation. I have also been involved in a wide array of volunteer and community work on behalf of domestic violence victims, homeless families, and transgender people.
I never considered running for office until after the 2016 election. I’m here because I’m profoundly afraid for our country and our world if we continue on the reckless and destructive path that is being set by the Trump administration and representatives like Jeff Denham who are failing to speak out against it. I believe we can contain the damage if we can achieve a Democratic majority in Congress in 2018, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make that happen.
It isn’t enough to just contain the damage, though. I have a lot of proactive, affirmative ideas for making our country better: developing and implementing a universal healthcare program sooner rather than later, revamping the tax code so that it serves the poor and middle class rather than only the rich, creating jobs through forward-looking infrastructure development and education-to-employment partnerships, and comprehensive immigration reform, to name a few.
I am a strong, persistent woman with a lot of energy and passion for work that makes people’s lives better. I look forward to putting these qualities to work for the people of District 10.