Until I was 18 months old I lived in a farmhouse without running water. Then after my parents separated, I was raised primarily by a young single mother who at the time was putting herself through nursing school. I remember a day at the grocery store when she said, “we can’t buy as much for awhile.” Still, I never felt there was scarcity. Instead, I was encouraged to develop as a person.
My mother made time each day for us to be together. And since for a while we lived with my grandparents, they
were also a part of my life. I cherish wide-eyed visions of wonder from early childhood nature programs at the local parks. I was able to attend summer camp because my father bartered a wood-burning stove.
I’ve explored an amazing number of national parks and wilderness areas in part because they were affordable.
I thrived in public schools, including the University of Colorado. I worked as a raft guide during the summer. And not to leave out the essentials, I learned to ski because the publicly owned mountain in Utah, Alta, taught local kids to ski for cheap.
Through the efforts of my parents and my community, I had the opportunity to cultivate my own sense of self, to try to become the person I want to be, and to give back to the world. I want that for everyone.
Though my childhood I learned there are some things worth fighting for. I attended my first political rally when I was two, the same year I went on my first backpacking trip. I was inspired by my grandparents and the civil rights rallies they attended with other members of their church. When I was growing up the question wasn’t how I would make a living, it was how I would make the world a better place.
As my parent’s careers developed, they led by example. My father started his own solar contracting business. My mother provided health care on Indian reservations, in inner cities and internationally in countries like Somalia and Haiti. I watched and learned from their example.
My husband is an engineer. He is the first generation in his family to attend college. My story is very different. I am the sixth generation of women to get an education beyond high school. I come from a family that feels strongly about the value of education. I have a bachelor of arts degree with a major in environmental studies and a minor in economics from the University of Colorado, a masters degree in agricultural policy from Tufts University, and a degree in law from Northeastern University School of Law.
I have always looked for jobs that promote my ideals. I worked on a development project in Ecuador, managed an art studio for adults with special needs, promoted environmental agricultural practices and small scale farming as staff in the US Senate, and helped protect open space doing legal work for the State of Massachusetts.
I then returned to Colorado to work in my father’s solar contracting business before moving on to state level policy and then City Council.
In the summer of 2009, even though we were faced with an unusually difficult job market, my husband and I left our comfortable jobs in Massachusetts to move back to Colorado.
We had met attending CU Boulder. He was originally from Steamboat. We chose to face the economic risk of relocating because we knew Colorado was where we wanted to live and put down roots. We wanted to live somewhere where people know how to relax and enjoy their free time and where people have the space and freedom to be themselves.
My husband and I believe that Lakewood embodies the best of Colorado; proximity to the mountains, a bikeable distance from downtown, houses with yards, beautiful parks and open space, and a strong school system. Soon after moving to Lakewood I started volunteering with the City. After some time I chaired the Sustainability Committee of the Advisory Commission for an Inclusive Community (ACIC). In 2013, I ran for City Council in order to contribute more to my community.
Currently, in addition to serving on City Council, I also serve on:
- the Legislative Committee,
- the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG),
- the Advisory Committee on Aging,
- the Regional Air Quality Council Board (RAQC), and
- the Energy Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee at the National League of Cities.
Previously I served on the:
- Head Start Executive Governing Board and the
- Bear Creek Stewardship Committee.
In addition, I volunteer:
- as a mediator with Jefferson County Mediation Services
- and as a child advocate with the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program.
Previously I volunteered with the:
- Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center,
- the Denver Women’s Prison and the
- Boys and Girls Club.