My Democratic values were shaped by my upbringing in a supportive, working class family. My father taught me the value of hard work by keeping his nose to the grindstone to support his family—to this day working as a machine operator. My mother, an office administrator, instilled in her children both compassion and the need to care for others. Together, through good times and bad, they have been married for over 30 years.
Our family knew many of the hardships Washingtonians face today, I am no stranger to the struggles that citizens across this state are facing. The need to invest in our economic future by focusing on job creation and providing access to quality schools and higher education has never been greater.
I am proud to be the first in my family to graduate from college, earning a degree in Mathematical Sciences. A field of study geared toward analytically thinking and problem solving was made possible because my father’s employer awarded me a generous full scholarship to the University of Washington. Not every child is as lucky as I was—we must keep college affordable for middle class and low-income families.
After college I worked in the private sector as a commercial appraiser for an international real estate firm. I’ve witnessed the destructive nature of unregulated capitalism, and the impact that has on families and small businesses. As I analyzed the plummeting market values of real estate investments owned by large pension funds, I watched the retirement safety net unravel for thousands of seniors. This is unacceptable, and without leaders versed in the nature of Wall Street, we will never create the needed checks and balances that ensure economic equality.
Motivated to speak out against the heartless acts of the financial sector, I was driven toward a life of public service. Like a generation before me drawn to service by John F. Kennedy, I found my voice and inspiration in the campaign of President Barack Obama. I left the real estate industry and began working on his and other campaigns.
A true turning point in my career happened in the summer of 2010 when Scott White called me and asked if I could work for him as a legislative aide after I finished managing a legislative campaign in East King County. Over the course of our too-short time working together, we had very open and honest conversations about me eventually representing our district in Olympia. Of course, my goal was to serve as his colleague; if afforded this opportunity, I will instead serve in his memory.
In my current job I am developing an expertise in education policy with an organization that is implementing a cradle-to-career initiative to increase student achievement in South Seattle and South King County—focusing on helping low-income students succeed.