Growing up in rural Wisconsin, the need for an active imagination was paramount as commercial entertainment was in short supply. Running wild through stalks of corn pretending to be someone other than who we really were. That was the age that marked the last time of innocence and freedom from the realities of the world.
Around ten years old my mother and I moved to the Bad River Reservation in Northern Wisconsin. It was a tumultuous time filled with uncertainty. We lived hand-to-mouth with no room for exceptional things that others had. It was then I realized life was not always going to be fair and I was the only person who could even the playing field.
I moved off of the reservation when I was 16 years old and found my own place. I worked as a waitress while still finishing high school. I had some college plans but those were soon interrupted when I found out I was pregnant with my first son and I had to reevaluate my future.
I worked two jobs to provide for my son and soon found myself at another turning point. I could continue to try to keep up this schedule or find another opportunity.
In 1995 I made the move to Fort Madison IA with my two year old son in tow. Those first years were a challenge as I tried to provide the best home I could without any support system. However as my son grew, life became a little easier. I made contacts, volunteered in the community, and found a routine to life that made earlier hardships distant memories.
I recognized the value of education and so I decided to go back to school. I started with night classes at Southeastern Community College. Soon I was taking two, sometimes three classes online and in-person. Overall it took me ten years to complete six years of education.
During that time, I also started coaching and refereeing soccer. It was a great experience to see the players grow into themselves and bring their uniqueness to each game.
In 2001 I went to work for Fort Madison Bank & Trust (now Connectionbank) as the Marketing Director. I wanted to learn more so I decided to go for my Microsoft Certification in Windows 2000. I took night classes for six months to try to master the new technology that was replacing Windows 95. It was hard work but I completed the program and took my initial exam.
In 2001, I had my second son. With eight years between the two boys, life was challenging. But we settled in and I worked hard to ensure that both kids had a leg up in school. We did flashcards in the evenings for multiplication tables and other math facts. We read all of the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and other series that peaked young minds. The kids were like sponges and our efforts were rewarded with both children breezing through school.
In the fall of 2008, I heard about an opportunity to work for the state of Iowa. Eventually, I was hired to facilitate the transition from the old prison to a new 130 million dollar max facility just a few short miles up the road.
I know what it’s like to work hard to support your family and so do the families in House District 100. They deserve to have someone who’s going to work just as hard for them in the State House, putting aside divisive politics and working to deliver on the issues that matter most to them– issues like making quality healthcare more affordable, funding our public schools, and fighting to raise the minimum wage to make sure workers get paid what they deserve.