Whenever I tell someone I'm running for office, the first question is always "why are you running" or "what made you decide to run?" There's a long answer and a short answer- an explanation and a summation- to that.
To sum up:
The short answer is that I decided to run for my son. To make changes that would make a better place for him to grow up. I want to improve public education so that I know he's learning what he needs to learn in school. I want to protect the environment so that he'll have a nice place to live with parks, preserves, oil-free beaches, etc. I want to help bring jobs to the area so that when he's done with school he won't have to leave to find work that provides a livable wage.
The explanation is, you guessed it, a little bit more of a story..
I've had an interest in politics since college- back in the day when I considered a career as a lawyer. Took classes in college where we had some great political speakers like Pam Iorio that really piqued my interest more. I decided law was definitely not in my cards, but the draw to politics stayed.
My graduate school program was an international program drawing in students from various countries. In learning about alternative dispute resolution, we learned perspectives from all around the world. We didn't focus on disputes just in America, we learned about conflicts around the world. That included a lot of political conflicts. I grew more interested in politics during this time.
We lived in Virginia for a few years and lived right above the offices of the representative for the area. I witnessed many protests outside the offices including ones to "get your government hands off my Medicare." Knowing Medicare is of course a government program, it was both confusing and eye opening. My interest in politics again grew more because I could see we were clearly failing to educate on what politicians did and how much the government actually does. It was also here, while living and working in an extremely conservative area that I became more determined in my progressive values (or values that I simply call common sense). This is when I started making the joke that I was going to run for office so I could help make politics make sense.
I was living North Carolina when they passed the "bathroom bill". The lack of understanding of the transgender community and the legal inequality it created was awful. But the bill also took away cities rights to make laws for their own city- like raising the minimum wage only in their city. It took away city rights to improve themselves. Every single aspect of that bill infuriated me. It drove me to want to do more.
My motivation had been growing and building for years and years. Seeing the political climate in 2016, I was not surprised to see Trump win. But it did anger me. The hateful rhetoric is not American. This became the time when I stopped joking around and saying "I should run" to stepping up to the plate and actually doing it. This is when I decided that was not the environment I wanted to raise my son in and I had to run to bring about the change we need. I needed to make changes to all those areas- education, environment, economical opportunities, equality, healthcare, and more- that have been ignored for way too long. Like an older gentleman said to me the other day, it's not his generation that will witness the flooding and other dire impacts of global warming, it's the children that will witness it. It's their world we need to improve.
This District hasn't had a democratic candidate in some time. It's about time we change that and I'm happy to be running to represent this area on Tallahassee.