Pennsylvania's 2nd District is a wonderfully diverse place. Comprised of Northeast Philly, it has 20 zipcodes and at least 40 neighborhoods.
Philadelphia is an incredibly resilient place. But I don't want families to just survive, I want families to thrive. I went to school here, live here, and work here. I'm invested in this district. I will be more than a voting public figure. I will write policies that matter, small policies that will make a big difference in people's lives. I'm here to finally give a voice to the fight for the social determinants of health at the federal level. If you wanna change health care - you gotta keep people healthy outside the hospital. Not only do I have the passion and determination as a nurse to make a difference - but I have the skills to get the job done.
"Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods." That was the first Philly slogan I remember learning when I moved to Philly for college in 2010 (followed by learning how to properly pronounce Schuylkill, which I definitely got wrong the first try). Confession: I am a Philly transplant. I was born and raised in Northern New Jersey to immigrant parents. My mom and dad moved to the United States in the 1980s to pursue their American Dream of a better life and opportunities for their children. After graduating from nursing school in 2014, I moved back home to Jersey to start my nursing career. Maybe it's because I spent four of the most influential years of my life in Philly, but I always knew I would come back. While I don't think I'll ever be able to divest my Jersey girl roots, Philly is my home.
I suppose one could argue that I wasn't born and raised here. So what makes me a good candidate to represent us in Congress?
That's true. I wasn't born or raised in Philly, but I share the same lived experience as the communities around me. I see the struggles of immigrant families. I feel the stress of middle-class families just barely making it. I hear the tales of parents who are working ridiculously hard to provide more for their children than they had - and are worried they are one unanticipated disaster away from financial despair. I see my life growing up reflected in the people around me.
One day after I committed to running for Congress, I drove around the district - from my neighborhood in Kensington all the way up to the northernmost part of the district by the Franklin Mills (oops....Philadelphia Mills) Mall. I followed the El from Kensington to Frankford, snaked my way to the Mall, got lost on the Boulevard (one day I will learn to fearlessly navigate those inner and outer lanes), then made my way down Broad St. in North Philly all the way to Center City.
When you drive around the district, you really see and feel how the diverse, vibrant pockets of communities knit together to form Philly's social fabric. I saw some amazing things that truly touched my soul. People saying hello to friends and family from their stoop. Children playing in community playgrounds and parks. Small businesses and thriving cultural and community centers.
But I also saw some things that absolutely broke my heart. Crumbling house facades and broken sidewalks. Mothers walking their children past individuals struggling with addiction. People sleeping in makeshift homes in unoccupied lots and under bridges. Empty, shuttered businesses. Entire blocks within neighborhoods - left behind and forgotten.
I see a lot of individuals struggling to survive in my neighborhood. I cannot ignore the struggling homeless, individuals suffering from chronic addiction on the sidewalks, and mothers teaching their kids to step over drug syringes. Even if I wanted to stop caring and turn it off, I can't. Because it's not me.
Running for Congress has made me feel incredibly vulnerable; but peeling back the layers of that vulnerability to understand who I am, where I came from, and why I care enough to advocate for the lives of others has helped me understand myself at my core.
Why am I running for Congress? Because I care and this is who I am. I am happiest when I see others thrive. Bringing out the best in others, their ultimate potential, brings me the absolute most joy.
Writing this biography, it is a little weird trying to convince people that I am here to advocate for others because it's who I am (though I do believe this is what I was born to do). What can I do to convince you that I'm not just writing some flowery sentences to convince you to support me?
I encourage you to reach out to me! Via e-mail, social media, or at one of our planned upcoming community events. I will be honored to have the chance to win your support and vote.