I have volunteered in the community my entire adult life, but something changed when...

As I watched the Baltimore riots in 2015, I felt called to do something more. So that year I read to a second grade classroom in a charter school in west Baltimore. The next school year I tutored and read in a south Baltimore public elementary school through Reading Partners. I have been doing that ever since.

I love Maryland and I want to contribute on a larger scale. My heart stirs to engage in a deeper way and to contribute to the wholeness of my community.

My decision to seek public office is a direct result of my concern for the community – all the members of our community – from the wealthiest to those with the least resources.

I grew up in a working class family—my father sold insurance and my mother was a teacher—and my heritage of deeply committed Christian parents and grandparents gave me a high value for education, hard work and doing good. I’ve raised four daughters while running a successful design business and volunteering in the community.

Shortly after Mark and I married 37 years ago, we moved to Oklahoma City to be part of an inner-city ministry. For 5 years we lived in one of the most impoverished communities in the city. We ran a clothes closet, a food pantry and backyard Bible schools. Like many young couples, we had meager financial resources and lived week-to-week trying to make ends meet. I remember standing in the grocery store one day with peanut butter in one hand and eggs in the other, trying to decide which would give us more protein for the week since we didn’t have enough money for both.

We understood the struggle, but both Mark and I had options: we had college educations and supportive families. Many of our neighbors did not have options. Several generations of one family lived in a tiny house nearby—the grandmother went dumpster diving for cans to recycle for a few pennies. One homeless man named Victor ate Saturday morning breakfasts with us and usually fell promptly asleep on our couch.

When we moved back to the central Ohio area, I helped when and where I could: donating hundreds of hours as a designer, collecting supplies for a dilapidated art program at my daughters’ school, reading to students, and teaching supplemental classes on creative writing.

My husband and I live in Linthicum. We have raised 4 daughters, who now have growing families of their own. The pressures they are facing are similar to those Mark and I faced raising our family and managing day-to-day. We understand what it takes to be on a budget, to save and scrimp to help pay for college, to make choices about what we absolutely needed or could do without, at least for a time. In the last 20 years, life seems to have become harder for young families, not easier. The economic well being of working families is under tremendous pressure.

As a Delegate for District 32 I will lead not only from my head – but also from my heart. I will represent the people with integrity. Our community is diverse in every way imaginable. We have some in our community who are concerned about taxes and some who are concerned about safety. I will listen to the issues of concern to the people in this district and I will listen carefully in session to the laws brought before the House. I will vote according to the knowledge of what will be best for the people of District 32 and for Maryland. People will always take precedence over ideology.

I am running for State Delegate because I believe things should and can change. We must reform the way our tax dollars are spent and we must do a better job keeping our communities safe.

Over the next few months, I will be visiting communities and knocking on doors to discuss the campaign and to ask for your vote.

I am the person who will listen. I will bring our district the voice it deserves.