Like most of you, my life is rich with failures and successes. I am using this page to address those so that the campaign is about the issues and needs and wants of the members of the 7th District, not about any “aha” issues regarding my personal life.
I moved to Virginia in 2004 and it is home. My free time usually finds me working around my home (located in western Henrico), spending time with friends, lifting and putting down heavy objects in the gym, backpacking in the beautiful Shenandoah Mountains, and hanging out with my four rescue pets - Emma, Lilie, and Buster (cats) and Titus, a hound shepard mix. Buster and Titus joined the family in 2016 from Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC). As the only open shelter in Richmond, RACC takes in EVERY abandoned, injured, abused, and lost pet in the city and tries to save each and every one. The incredible team at RACC, along with generous donors and amazing veterinarian assistance, has taken the shelter to over a 90% save rate, and no animal is ever put down for lack of space. My passion for RACC and its mission is obvious, as is my admiration for the amazing team they have in place as each day they see the worst of the worst in animal treatment, and yet rejoice in the many, many saves they make every day. I am a volunteer and member of the RACC Foundation, and proud to associate with such a selfless group of people.
My love of travel has taken me to Europe, Asia, and Central America, and a majority of the states in the U.S. In the summer of 2016 I spent 14 days alone on the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park in California and it was a transformative experience where I challenged myself mentally and physically every day, and it changed me for the better. I am fortunate to live a life where a trip like that is possible.
I am a life-long lesbian and happily single, and come from a close and supportive family. You will not find me advocating for specific group rights, as I mentioned on my Issues page. Instead, I will always advocate for human rights. While I am not a member of a local church, I was brought up in the Lutheran Church of America and still adhere to the principles of caring for those who need it most.
In 2005 my then business partner filed for bankruptcy and I was not in the financial position to buy her out. As such, I was forced to file as well. As a single business owner and personally, however, I have successfully established and managed budgets for Fortune 500 to one person business entities, including myself, and advocate for long term financial success.
My doctoral program at VCU began in 2006 (I was 44) and it was a huge struggle for me. I adjuncted anywhere from four to six classes while doing my coursework, and failed my first attempt at my comprehensive exams. One of my proudest accomplishments was not quitting and being able to re-take the exams and pass, and then finish a dissertation in Leadership Development and feedback.
In short, I have spent most of my professional life as a businessperson with extensive experience in all types of industries, as a salesperson and consultant, and then fulfilled a dream of finishing my Ph.D. so I could bridge the gap in the college classroom between learning concepts and actually applying them. I use community-based learning in the classroom (students find not for profit organizations and use what they have learned to help those organizations) so that students are out working with others to hone the skills they will need to be successful after graduation.
While I worked full time through all of my college degrees, I also finished school with a boatload of student loans, which I pay back based on the Income Repayment Plan. Did you know - student loan payments are 20% of your gross income? This is much more than my mortgage payment every month! That is why you hear people advocating for more competitive rates and payments on student loans. People are not looking for a free ride, they are looking for a fair shake and opportunities. I was privileged enough to have them both. Every kid should have the chance to grow up and do what they want, and affordable student loans are one big way to offer that opportunity. Vocational and college educations also put more people to work, paying taxes into our system, and cause fewer people to need assistance because they are able to live a sustainable life.
I am grateful every day to live the life that I do, and that my parents instilled in me a serious work ethic, a sense of responsibility and accountability, and the belief that I could achieve anything I wanted. That type of upbringing, combined with my failures and successes, have led me to a place where I live a happy and fulfilled life, surrounded by good and intelligent people, and I believe I can take my experience, education, tough life lessons, and energy, passion, and purpose and effectively put them to work for the 7th District of Virginia.