WHY I'M RUNNING
Throughout my life, as an educator and a career military officer, my motivation has been to serve and to care for others, whether students or soldiers. I have thoroughly enjoyed retirement and the freedom to do as I please, but the current political environment has challenged me to step forward once again. I do not have a background in politics, but I DO have a strong sense of service to this community and a demonstrated ability to accomplish difficult tasks. I believe we have a commitment to improve our economy, provide equal opportunities for all and protect our environment – and one of the fundamental ways to accomplish those things is through quality education. I look forward to the opportunity to be the voice of District 19 and be your champion for change.
I am the youngest of four children raised by a single parent. My father died when I was two, leaving my mother to carry on alone. As a result, I learned first-hand the challenges faced by a woman forced to earn an adequate living in a biased society. Fortunately, my mother was a strong, intelligent role model who taught us from the beginning that we could do anything we set our minds to do. Part of our early lessons included the importance of education and the expectation that we would be college graduates, no matter what the cost. Through a combination of scholarships, work study opportunities and $75/month from my father’s social security benefits, I was able to “pay” my own way through Texas Wesleyan College with a B.A. in Mathematics and later was awarded a University Fellowship for four years of graduate work at The Ohio State University.
I often say that I was raised to be a teacher, partially because my mother was a librarian and then a Vice-Principal in the public schools. More than that, she instilled in me a powerful appreciation for what a quality education could provide. As an undergraduate, I worked two summers in the fledgling Head Start program, one year in an Hispanic class and the second year in an all Black school. After teaching for one year in the Fort Worth Independent School District, I left for graduate school where I taught undergraduate classes during the second and third years. While there, I experienced riots and protests similar to those at Kent State which opened my eyes to the power of demonstrations and the importance of listening to the needs and concerns of the people. Following graduation, I was hired by Smith College in Northampton, MA as Director of Master’s Theses for the Department of Physical Education.
After two years at Smith, my life took a very different turn when I joined the Army. Initially, I hoped to join the faculty at West Point, but I eventually wound up teaching ROTC at U.C. Berkeley (quite a contrast from USMA!) The military provided an entirely different set of opportunities than anything I had ever experienced, including assignments in Korea, Germany and The Netherlands. In each country, I worked with local civilians in a variety of roles. Those travels also provided the opportunity to live under a wide range of conditions! My career in the military placed me in jobs with ever-increasing levels of responsibility, including being selected for command at every commissioned rank I held. My career included two tours at the Pentagon: one as part of the Army Staff and one on the Joint Staff. While working for the Chief of Staff of the Army, I had the opportunity to learn first-hand how to make difficult decisions at high profile levels. Throughout the 25 years leading up to my retirement as a Colonel, the Army taught me how to stand strong through tough times, to care for my soldiers and to prioritize scarce resources. It also taught me the importance of working together as a team to accomplish the mission at hand.
Following a short retirement, I was asked to return as a contractor to continue working toward providing quality logistical support, giving the soldiers of this country access to the finest equipment and living conditions possible. The military had already taught me that the best way to reach an objective was often through collaboration, cooperation and communication. These skills were truly honed as a contractor, when it was no longer possible to simply direct a task be done a particular way.