Growing up in North and Northeast Portland, I was the tenth child in a family of eleven children. When my father passed away suddenly, my mother had to work overtime just to make ends meet (one of the reasons I’ve always supported 24-hour childcare). Her leadership in those tough times has always inspired me to rise to whatever challenges life may bring and to face adversity with a smile.
My views on community service are one of the greatest gifts I received from my family. Even though she was a single mother with seven children under age eighteen, my mother ran a boarding home with a soup kitchen and also opened our home to emergency foster care children. My Grandfather took me along on his trips to migrant camps, and while I played with my friends there, he would help the workers by reading their mail, getting their prescription drugs, and writing letters. They both taught me to always keep an open door policy and look out for those most in need.
My first experience in politics was begging my Mother to take us see Robert Kennedy, who was visiting nearby Salem. While I was still attending St. Joseph School, I watched five of my older brothers get drafted into the Vietnam War, which taught me very early on that our country’s politics can be immensely personal. This experience led me to always pay close attention to the decision-makers who are entrusted with public office, and eventually I realized the largest impact I could have would be at the local and state level. That’s why I’ve testified regularly at City Council meetings and previously served as the Transportation Chairperson for the North Portland Business Association.
I’ve spent the majority of my adult life working in the local community, mostly on transportation issues directly impacting District 44 with the nonprofit I founded, the Economic Transportation Alliance. Along with many allies in our community, we fought hard against the Columbia River Crossing, and instead we promoted the best alternative, which is an I-5 bypass bridge connecting Portland to Vancouver. In honor of some of this work, I received the Celebrate North Portland Award for Community Advocacy and the American Dreamer Award for stopping the Columbia River Crossing.
Prior to that work, I was a local realtor in the area, helping many residents move into their first home, and currently, I work in the hospitality industry. I’ve also helped organize one of the largest Christmas Bazaars in Portland. After I graduated from St. Mary’s Academy, I received a degree from Portland Community College and Oregon Real Estate School. As your next State Representative, you can count on me to focus on District 44 first – I will always work for you.