I am a 4th generation Texan woman, a mother of children who struggled in school, a mother that used public assistance to go to school and become a nurse, and a nurse that has worked to help Texans heal for more than 15 years. As an advocate that has worked tirelessly to improve the child-serving systems in Texas, as a mental health advocate, this is what I know: The only way Texans, all Texans, can actually thrive and live full, productive lives is if the power structures that govern our lives and our bodies are ones in which we want to participate.
I can tell you the day I became invested and active in state government. Standing in the rotunda of the Texas Capitol with my wife and our daughter during the Wendy Davis filibuster, I witnessed the awesome power of our voices. I can also tell you the day I decided to run: May 22, 2017. On that day I watched from the gallery as Representative Joe Moody from El Paso poured his heart out for the children of our State who are transgender, his kind-hearted colleagues by his side in solidarity. This was during a discussion in the Texas House of amendments to SB 2078 that literally codifies discrimination.
And this is what the current Representative of Texas House District 47, Paul Workman, was doing:
His boots up on his desk, he was kicked back, ambivalent, inattentive. So this made me wonder: “Is this how the parents of Travis County want their children represented? Do Travis County residents want to be represented by a person that votes FOR discrimination of trans youth at school?”
This last legislative session, I watched in horror as Governor Abbott, Representative Workman and numerous other legislators, targeted and attacked each marginalized and disenfranchised group, one by one. This level of hatred has not been seen in our state government for a very long time.
Emboldened by Trump, no group was immune: Women, immigrants, and refugees, my LGBTQIA family, even children were the targets of the onslaught of hate. Instead of doing the job they were hired to do, like fixing school finance or making sure physicians still were licensed to practice medicine, they were wasting time attacking the most vulnerable residents of Texas.
Health Care for All – Protection & Justice – Our Children’s Future
I care about all Texans, and most certainly our most vulnerable and disenfranchised.
Texans should be able to care for their health without having to choose between groceries or Health Care. As a parent representative on the Behavioral Health Advisory Committee to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, I feel the weight of the needs of our children on my shoulders. As a nurse with experience writing Texas Medicaid medical policy, I know how complex it will be to agree on solutions that will work for all. But, changes are coming from the federal level, and things may get much worse before they get better…why wait?
Pregnant mothers are now dying more frequently, right here in Texas. We need to consider the possibility that federal funding of Medicare and Medicaid as we know it could end, driving doctors to move to other states, and causing hospitals to close their doors. That is why Health Care remains a significant priority for Texans. As your future state Representative for House District 47, I am working on a plan to provide all Texans, regardless of income, with a statewide Medicaid for All plan that will work.
In the current political and social climate, where we often do not see that justice is served and when people are not always protected by law enforcement, it becomes apparent that our underlying concerns for Protection & Justice are shared values. And while the risks of police work may feel constant for officers, the risk of physical harm is a legitimate fear for marginalized groups, and in particular for people of color. Black lives should matter, but they often do not. Victims of domestic violence should be honored and respected, but often they are not. Mental health and substance use are often criminalized. For these reasons, as your next state Representative for House District 47, I will continue to work toward meaningful reforms.
Schools underfunded and grossly influenced to limit special education access for Texas’ most vulnerable students… disproportionate representation of children of color from school discipline to juvenile justice to child welfare, ensuring the future of the school to prison pipeline… child-serving systems that continue to be systematically undercut year after year without plans to ensure their future. When did it become acceptable to make Our Children’s Future a line item on the state’s budget?
These are just a fraction of the issues I have rallied around for years as a family leader in children’s mental health advocacy. As a founding leader of the Texas Family Voice Network, I know the challenges of bringing together people from all walks of life to find common ground on issues that matter for all. I have worked for years to elevate the voices of families across the state and representing them at the state Capitol. Now, I am taking the ultimate path of ensuring our voices are heard as your future state Representative for House District 47.
A Call to Action
For the last five years, as a progressive activist on the front lines fighting for justice, I have fought against harmful & discriminatory bills. I’ve tried to slow down bad bills and keep them from becoming law while supporting some amazing legislation. And while fighting for these issues that matter, like the right to choose, social justice, health care, equality, and our children’s future, I decided I had to run against Paul Workman, and win Texas House District 47.
I answered the call of so many progressive leaders that have told us, pleaded with us: Vote! …but don’t just vote – run. Run for office! We need strong progressives to run against these all too comfortable incumbents, like my opponent. Because, like so many in the Texas Legislature in this day and age, this representative no longer represents us. These are no longer issues of right vs. left. They are issues of right vs. wrong! The time is now. We have a moral obligation to preserve the future for our children.
I am eager to meet each and every resident of the 47th House District of Texas, and to work with each and every one of you, to learn what matters most to you, to discover the beauty that is Western and Southern Travis County, and to earn your trust and your votes!