“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 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. On college breaks, I returned home to work at the local Dairy Queen. 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. I spent months having conversations at my neighbors’ doors, sharing my story and asking about issues most important to them. I reunited with so many familiar faces: former teachers, mentors, community leaders and classmates now raising families of their own. 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’ve been 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. When a collective bargaining ordinance came before city council, I did everything possible to ensure its passage because I believe in the value of average workers having a seat at the table and a voice in their employment. When Xcel Energy announced they were cutting rebates for solar energy, a move that would hurt local companies and cost jobs in our community, I sponsored a resolution against the measure. Commerce City became the first city in Colorado to take action on the issue. My leadership on city council gained the respect of my council colleagues and within my first term I was promoted to Mayor Pro Tem.
Now, I’m ready to advocate for our community at the State Capitol. I’m ready to work with you to make sure that every child in our community gets a high-quality education, every worker has access to a good-paying job and Adams County families have opportunities to improve their quality of life. I look forward to representing you as your next Democratic State Representative from House District 32.