A WARRIOR FOR PROGRESS

 

My life has been characterized by struggle and hard work. I was born in southern Maryland.
My father, a tobacco-farmer- turned-union- iron-worker, and my mother divorced when I was nine years-old. Being raised by a single mother was my first introduction to the
struggles of the less fortunate in America.

In high school, I married my childhood best friend, and life didn't get any easier. Navigating society as a young, biracial family was difficult, but we made it work for as long as we could.

Eventually youth and poverty took their toll and I found myself a single mother, often
depending on Medicaid, WIC, and food stamps for survival. These personal challenges have
given me a profound appreciation for the uniquely American struggle so many of us face.
Through a combination of determination and public assistance, I was able to put myself
through college and become an executive level accountant and marry. Finally, I was able to
give my family the life I'd always hoped for.

You might think of my life as a classic example of "bootstrapping," but I see it differently.

Two years ago, I learned just how fragile success can be, when I lost my daughter, Shalynne,
to our barbaric, profit-driven healthcare system. I thought I had finally achieved the
American Dream, but it was all a facade.

My story illustrates how necessary public assistance is while also demonstrating how
inadequate and alienating our current system and policies are. We must stop thinking of
vital social programs as a "safety net" to catch us when we fall. Policies that meet everyone's basic needs – a guaranteed livable wage, access to free public education and healthcare, affordable housing – need to be recognized as the concrete foundation upon which our society is built, allowing us all to grow, thrive, and reach our full potential with equity and dignity.

Although my life has been full of struggle – and, more recently, tragedy – my experiences
have strengthened my resolve. I wholeheartedly believe together we can transform America
into the land of opportunity it has always promised to be. 

I've been married to my husband, David, an immigrant and US Air Force Officer, for nine years. Together we are raising four beautiful children, instilling in them the very values on which I am running my campaign and which I intend to bring to Congress.