Who am I?
While working my way through college at Duquesne University, I decided early to dedicate my life to helping others. At the Emergency Services Department of the American Red Cross’s Southwestern PA Chapter I learned the importance of bringing people and communities together in difficult times.
Following my graduation from Duquesne University in 1999, I embarked on a 12- year career as a non-profit professional. Prior to serving in the General Assembly, I served as Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP). At PUMP I focused on connecting young and talented people to jobs in Pittsburgh.
Throughout my career, I have also served the community in various leadership capacities including
• Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership’s (GPNP) Public Policy Committee
• Judge of Elections
• Democratic Committeewoman (19th Ward, 6th District)
• Vice President of the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation Board of Directors
As a state legislator serving the City of Pittsburgh and the South Hills communities, my priorities include securing Pennsylvania’s infrastructure by sustainably investing in transportation and mass transit, strengthening our commitment to public education, encouraging job creation and expanding training opportunities to meet the needs of a 21st century economy. During my tenure in the House, I have introduced, and am working collaboratively with colleagues to advance common-sense legislation including:
• Workplace Opportunity Legislation – that would ensure equal pay for equal work in Pennsylvania.
• Expansion of Non-Discrimination Protections – This legislation would ensure that access to housing, employment, and financial assistance is not limited because of someone’s gender expression or sexual orientation.
• Financial Assistance/Access to community college students – This legislation helped make community college more affordable to thousands of students statewide.
• The proposed Physician Separation Disclosure Act – Would provide protocol when doctors move or leave a practice, ensuring that patents know how to locate their doctor and records.
• The Transportation Bill – This legislation created tens of thousands of jobs and will help bring our transportation infrastructure into the 21st century.
I look forward to continuing to fight for the issues that matter to Pittsburgh and the South Hills communities.
Why am I running?
During my time working with non-profits, I saw firsthand the enormous impact that government can have on people's lives. I dedicated myself to making sure that impact is a positive one. Every day, government agencies and elected officials make decisions that have huge consequences for the hardworking men and women of Pennsylvania. I believe the best way to serve is to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have their voices heard in policy decisions.
I am seeking re-election in a new district, the 36th, as a result of a redistricting plan I fought against. I offer bold leadership for South Pittsburgh and a voice voters can count on in Harrisburg. This unique combination of experience, new ideas, and action makes me the right choice for voters in the 36th.
In my next term as State Representative I am committed to finishing the work I have started in my first term as well as expanding on many of my previous accomplishments. I am committed to passing equal pay for equal work legislation because I believe that in 2014 no one should be paid less because of gender.
I am also committed to strengthening public education across Pennsylvania because I believe we cannot attract 21st century jobs without an educational system that prepares our students. This requires a serious, long-term commitment from Harrisburg to improve our quality of education, including creating and implementing a fair funding formula for our school districts. As a member of the education committee, I will continue to fight for these investments.
I will also continue to fight for improvements to our transportation infrastructure. Thanks to the Transportation Bill, which I vocally supported, our public transit system in South Pittsburgh has not seen cuts and our roads and bridges will see the repairs and improvements they have long needed. I will continue to champion transportation issues in Harrisburg because I believe a modern infrastructure is necessary for attracting and retaining businesses across Pennsylvania.
Finally, I pledge to continue to be a visible, engaged, and accountable leader. I will continue to hold my weekly office hours and I encourage all my constituents to bring any concern to my office. I’m happy to hear from any of my constituents and look forward to continuing to serve them in the General Assembly.
My DFA Values
I take a very grassroots approach to campaigning. In every election I have knocked on thousands of doors to get my message out and connect with voters. Even when not running for re-election, I spend a great deal of my time connecting with community groups and members. I have gone door-to-door in my district to promote the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and ensure residents got the coverage they needed. I make it a point to attend almost every community meeting in my district and I take to heart the concerns of my constituents.
Policy-wise, I have long been an advocate for programs that create a fairer and more equal society. I have been one of the strongest proponents of Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation in Harrisburg. Closer to Pittsburgh, I was a driving force behind passing the Transportation bill which ensures public transportation across Pennsylvania is properly funded and that hard-working men and women have a safe, reliable, way of getting to and from work. This legislation creates tens of thousands of jobs across the state and is a vital investment in our future.
My campaign takes these values to heart and looks to implement them in everyday campaigning. My campaign is inclusive, welcoming, and is dedicated to building stronger communities. My campaign is built upon the neighborhood team model which looks to empower citizens to take control over their communities. I even opened a field office in one of the more run-down areas of my new district as part of my larger efforts to bring a new community together in South Pittsburgh.
Through actions like these, along with my weekly walk-in office hours, my outreach to seniors and students alike, and my dedication to community service make my campaign a great example of Democracy for America’s values in action.
My Campaign is People Powered!
My 2014 campaign is shaping up to be even more people-powered than my past campaigns. One of my very first hires this year was a full-time Field and Volunteer Director who is solely responsible for making our campaign volunteer and voter oriented. Building on the neighborhood team model that successfully empowered communities in 2008 and 2012, our Field Director will build on my broad grassroots support to connect as many voters and volunteers with our campaign as possible.
My support also extends to the “grass-tops”. I am grateful to have the support of local progressive organizations including women’s groups, labor, LGBT groups, and local elected officials who all help get my message out.
I’m proud to have already received public endorsements from fellow progressives Mayor Bill Peduto, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and a number of other local elected officials. My campaign is dedicated to running a volunteer driven and issues based campaign that looks to expand progressive leadership to the 36th.