“A Native Son To Get Things Done”
My foremost interest is serving the community that raised me and shaped my values. I was born and raised in Commerce City. My grandparents settled in Adams County in the early 70’s after raising my mother and her siblings in Silverton, a small town in southwest Colorado. I learned early on the value of hard work. My grandfather was a coal miner. My father was a truck driver for Public Service and later a janitor at Lester Arnold High School. My mother is an educator and taught Head Start for 25 years in our community. My siblings and I didn’t grow up with a lot other than the values our parents raised us with: to value education, to always respect and be kind to others and to give back to our community whenever possible. It’s these values that continue to guide me.
During my time in Adams 14 school district I took the values my parents instilled in me seriously. I attended our local public schools in Adams 14, starting at Central Elementary, continuing to Kearney Middle School and finishing at Adams City High School where I graduated valedictorian of my class. Raised in a household that valued an honest day’s work, I spent my high school afternoons employed at the local Dairy Queen on 64th Ave. Thanks to the help and guidance of amazing teachers and counselors I aimed high for college and was accepted into Georgetown University, one of our nation’s top universities. Knowing my family could never afford tuition at a private institution, I applied for almost every college scholarship available. After receiving generous local scholarships like the Daniels Fund, I declined further scholarships so my classmates would also have the opportunity to afford college.
Even though I was lucky enough to have most tuition costs covered by scholarships, I knew I would have to work in order to make it in college. Throughout my years in Washington, DC, I balanced part-time jobs with my studies. Although this put me at a competitive disadvantage compared to my well-to-do peers, I valued the work ethic it built in me. As I did at home, I quickly involved myself in the many service opportunities college offered. In addition to working and studying, I volunteered weekly for a variety of service projects from packaging meals for people with terminal illnesses to staffing overnight shifts at a women’s shelter. I also tutored first and third graders at low-income elementary schools in southeast DC. The summer before my senior year of college, I participated in a service program that took me abroad to teach English in a poor rural village. For two months, I taught English classes for children and adults in Palmitas, a small village off the western coast of northern Mexico. The humble families of Palmitas reinforced the principle I learned early from my own family and the principle that continues to guide my life:
When we can, we should help one another.
After graduating from Georgetown with a bachelor’s degree in American Government, I returned to my family and friends in Colorado. I hadn’t been back for long when I was encouraged to use my education and talents to serve this community by running for city council. Making the transition from community service to public service intrigued me and I quickly acquainted myself with the issues affecting Commerce City. After many conversations with my family, I decided to run. Come Election Day, I secured 51% of the vote in a three-way race and became the youngest city councilmember in Commerce City history. I served on the city council for over two years and I’m proud that I’ve never abandoned the working class values I was raised with.. My leadership on city council gained the respect of my council colleagues and within my first term I was promoted to Mayor Pro Tem.
In 2012 I decided that it was time to take my efforts further and seek the candidacy of State Representative for House District 32, representing Commerce City and southern parts of unincorporated Adams County. With my community’s support I was honored to be elected as the youngest member in General Assembly. Now, in my second term as Representative, I am proud of the efforts we have done to move our state forward.In only two short years, my colleagues and I were able to work across the aisle carrying positive and common sense legislation has bettered the lives of all Coloradans. When I took office I intended to keep my promise to keep my communities interests at heart and I am doing just that to ensure equality and put forth positive policy that benefit hard working families. While it has been a great session so far, we still have a work to do. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Colorado.