I am the mother of two young sons who will one day attend our neighborhood public school. I am running for State Representative because I am frustrated by our current political system.

I am not a typical political candidate. I have never run for office before. My family and I have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, one of my children is on CHIP and the other is on Medicaid. When I’m in Harrisburg, I won’t be fighting for vague policy but for changes that directly affect my life and the health of my children. I announced my run for State Representative when my youngest son was just three months old and he’s often with me in the baby carrier while I’m out in the community. I believe elected officials should work every day to meet our needs, not the desires of the super rich or corporate and special interests. Until recently, I didn’t expect that I would run for office, but I am stepping up because I believe we need transformative change to build a government that truly works for my family, our community, and all of us.

I have worked as a reporter at public radio station WHYY for a decade, covering community affairs and politics. I spent my days asking tough questions of people in power and holding politicians and leaders accountable. But the part of the job I loved most was helping regular people like us share stories of struggle and success. I have talked to thousands of people all over Philadelphia and Pennsylvania who are struggling, and whose voices are not being heard in Harrisburg. Leaving my career was not an easy decision, but after a lot of thought I committed to run for State House because I know that we need more people in office truly fighting for us.

I’m raising two young South Philadelphians on a beautiful small block with wonderful neighbors. We change the flags each season and neighbors watch out for each other and stop to chat when arriving home. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, in a small town where people also watch out for each other. I come from a family and a community with diverse political views and many people there also feel forgotten and devalued by our political system.

My parents were both union public school teachers who taught me the importance of respecting others, and that each of us has value as a human being. I’m comfortable talking with people from different parts of the state and different political backgrounds. To be the most effective representative for us, I’ll use that life experience to talk with lawmakers and individuals from other parts of the state about how we can work together on healthcare and education legislation that will benefit all of us, regardless of where we live.