I was born in the Midwest and raised by a single Mom, who by necessity received a lot of help from her parents. I became incredibly close to my grandparents because they really did help raise me. When I was young, I remember the stories they would tell—about my grandfather’s military service and the Purple Heart he earned in World War II, and about my uncles, who served during Vietnam. They would tell me about my great grandfather, who moved up in the ranks of his local union until he was the head of the Carpenter’s in Chicago—my mother still has his hammer that he would proudly display as a sign of his hard work.
When I was nine, I told my mother I wanted to save the world; when I was 15, I told my best friend that I was going to a college that would best prepare me to help others (she told me that wasn’t smart because I would never make any money). I met my husband, now an associate professor of history at Creighton University, when we were in college together, and we’ve been married for sixteen years. We chose to raise our daughter, who we’re so proud of, in Nebraska. She’s a junior at Central High School in Omaha.
I take ideas and turn them into tangible actions. I started Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (OHKA) and have grown it from a small, start-up lead poisoning prevention organization to a nationally recognized, award-winning nonprofit that has raised more than $13 million to support green, safe, and healthy housing in Omaha. We have directly served over 4,000 Nebraska families over the last decade. In the process, I created dozens of jobs within the organization, in city government, and through partnerships with the small businesses and contractors we work with.
I was honored to win election to the Board of Governors of Metropolitan Community College in 2014 with 64% of the vote and subsequently to be elected as Vice Chair of the Board. At MCC, I’ve been proud to strengthen the college’s non-discrimination policies, develop contractor training programs that created jobs in the community, and lead the initiative to ban tobacco usage on all campuses.
It’s fair to say that I strongly believe in a tradition of service to others—it was ingrained in me, and it’s a fundamental part of what my family stands for. That’s why I’m running for Nebraska’s Second Congressional District. I’m a life-long Democrat, and I’m not going to sit on the fence while our political system is assaulted and undermined by those who don’t represent Nebraska’s values. Nebraskans need someone who isn’t afraid of a fight, someone who will take the lead in healthcare, education, and climate change.
I want to work together as we move forward, and I want to earn your vote in 2018.