I grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, the daughter of teachers. My parents instilled in me a sense of civic duty—public service is what gives life its meaning. My father went on to start his own business, but it went under during the recession of the 90's. This was a very difficult time for my family, but we persevered through the hardship.
I was only able to pursue higher education because my country invested in me through public grants and federal loans. I worked hard and earned a Bachelors from Yale, a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Ph.D. in public administration with a focus on public finance from Syracuse University.
My husband Jeff and I moved to Suwanee because this area is a great place to raise a child. We were attracted to the great schools, great parks and natural beauty. Also, we had hoped our home would make it easier for our aging parents to visit and potentially move in with us if needed.
Like many citizens of the 7th District, however, my parents struggled with the cost of health care. In fact, their health care costs became so burdensome they couldn’t afford their medications, much less to pick up and move. My mother cared for my aging and very sick father until they both recently passed away last summer. All of their discretionary income was eaten up paying for medications, including ones to treat my father’s diabetes.
Between 2002 and 2013, the price of insulin has tripled, and in 2017, news organizations reported it was going to go up by another eight percent. My parents used to hit their insurance cap for drug payments in November, but in 2017 they were hitting it in July.
This problem is not at all unique to my family, and in fact, by many standards we are lucky.
A Life in Service
I have spent my life working to create public services and policies that would truly help people. I started my career as an aide to Senator Ron Wyden, working on health care, education, women’s issues, social issues, and transportation. I learned a lot about policy and politics working with the Senator. But I also learned how to look for ways to both help people and stretch federal dollars as well as the importance of working on policy that was grounded in broad bipartisan coalitions.
Among my many projects, I worked on an innovative transportation program to better connect transportation with land use planning and design that was a precursor to the Livable Communities Project that has revitalized many downtown communities here in the 7th District. I worked on legislation that helped expand access to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and to Federally Qualified Health Centers while saving the federal government money.
In Georgia, I advised our state government on how to be both fiscally responsible and compassionate. From 2007 to 2010 I was Director of Georgia’s Senate Budget and Evaluation Office. While there I worked on the state budget in a non-partisan role. I dug deep into the issues important to our state, and after my time there, the Senate honored me for navigating the serious challenges posed by the Great Recession with Senate Resolution 1598 . After my service to the state, I returned to the Andrew Young School and founded the Center for State and Local Finance to teach the next generation of public officials about fiscally responsible management and public policy.
I’ve never been content to sit behind a desk. I’m on a leave of absence from teaching so that I can step up and fight for what our community needs most, where I can make the biggest difference—as your Representative in Washington.
why i'm running
I am running for Congress in Forsyth and Gwinnett because our country has lost its way, and needs new leadership. Our district represents the vibrant future of the United States. We are diverse and global in population and outlook, while also graced with smaller communities that emphasize education, green space, and quality of life. However, we need to make some changes.
As the mother of a six-year-old, I care deeply about my son’s future and the future of all our children. We need a representative who will make reasonable, fiscally-responsible choices that invest in our people and our infrastructure.
I personally witnessed my parents’ struggle with the rising costs of health care and prescription drugs. We need a representative who will make sure that every adult and child in this country has access to affordable, quality health care.
I am concerned that our President is tearing at the fabric of our democracy. I am not okay with that. While I hear the concerns of those who have supported him, his choices are not helping to bring better jobs or economic opportunity. We need a representative who will provide a serious check on our current President while working to reform our democracy to be more inclusive and less beholden to special interests.
I was called to public service at an early age. I am a lifelong Democrat, but one who has long believed in reaching across the aisle. I have worked as a legislative aide to several US Representatives and a US Senator. I served as Director of Georgia’s Senate Budget and Evaluation Office and founded the Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State. I have worked with Republicans and Democrats alike to improve the lives of my fellow citizens by promoting policies that advance education and social justice, improve access to health care, promote good paying jobs, encourage fiscal discipline in government, and improve local transportation.
In recognition of my public service and my ability to be effective on behalf of the people of the 7th Congressional District, I have been endorsed by Congressmen Hank Johnson, Ambassador Andrew Young and former Senator Max Cleland as well as many local leaders.
I would deeply appreciate your support in this journey to reclaim our country and invest in our children’s future.