Running for State Representative is a very personal opportunity for me. Having lived in Missouri for the past 25 years, and raised just across the river in Southern Illinois, I can honestly say it has been a long time since I felt my local representatives faithfully represented the interests of my family and me.
I see the role of Representative as both a privilege and a great responsibility. I will use this opportunity to add lost voices to the narrative of our local governing and not just those who have had the loudest voices in the past.
So who am I and which lost voices do I hope to empower?
I had my daughter in 1986 and for thirteen years raised her as a single, working mother with help from a very strong network of family and friends. I began as a volunteer with my daughter’s brownie troop in the early 1990s using what little time I had between work and college classes to help out with the cookie sale. It was the best I could do at the time; however, the education I received from this group of parents was incredible. Almost every mother of Troupe 47 had a job or career outside of the home. We all had to pitch in and help each other in order to make it all happen. I learned that sometimes stapling badges on to your daughter’s sash is perfectly fine. I learned that moms who didn’t work outside the home supported those who did. I am eternally thankful to all of those moms who helped me shuffle my daughter from school to activities and home for dinner when I couldn’t be there. And, I learned that it truly does take a village to raise, love, care for, and provide the best lives for our children.
When my daughter Courtney was in the third grade, I was invited to a service at Manchester United Methodist Church by a dear friend and my life was changed. I walked in and felt right at home; as a life-long Catholic, this feeling was surprising. It was at MUMC that my daughter found a relationship with God and we both found a strong faith community. I spent the next 19 years at MUMC volunteering in every way I could - marketing and outreach teams; Spirit Camp Counselor; I served on the preschool committee and VBS committee, taught Sunday School, worked on various fundraisers, and much more. My 19 years at Manchester provided a church family like no other and is one I will forever appreciate.
I remarried in 2000 and Jeff and I have two boys together. We chose to raise them in the Parkway South area; Joey will be a Junior in the fall and Jeffrey will be attending Missouri S&T. Over the years I have volunteered in nearly every aspect of my children’s school, scout, and church lives, allowing me to develop strong relationships with parents and teachers and experience the diversity of concerns and issues that we face as a community. I was on the Oak Brook PTO, I led the student Newspaper club, and I organized the “Kids Vote” program for the 2008 elections, teaching students about the democratic process.
In addition to my focus on our immediate area, I have been and continue to be involved with larger charities and groups devoted to services for children and families including Children's Miracle Network and CASA (now merged with Voices for Children). I am currently serving my second term on the Board of Directors for Kids in the Middle, a St. Louis-based non-profit counseling resource for children and families.
I appreciate the direct and indirect impacts government has on my life, my family, my friends, and my community. I am passionate about issues that affect children and families: Voting Rights, LGBTQ rights, Women’s Reproductive Rights, Education, Health Care, and Mental Health—you get the picture. But I was inspired to join this race to become your Representative because I am most passionate about my community, the “village” that has supported and nurtured my family and me for over 25 years.
For anyone who has yet to meet me, I hope this small introduction makes you feel like you have someone in your corner. It is YOUR voice I want to hold to the microphone. I will listen. I will stand up. I will absolutely fight for EVERY person in the 98th district. Anyone who DOES know me will tell you I am bold, determined, not easily shaken and I ALWAYS do what is best for the greater good.
I believe this community deserves someone like me as a Representative. I am YOUR candidate.