I was 10 years old when I started my first job – I was a delivery girl for a local newspaper in Reston, VA. I remember my mom driving our minivan in the early dawn light, dropping off papers to the apartment complexes in our neighborhood.
At 12, I started babysitting – becoming an important part of the childcare network for my neighbors. At 16, I was working as a waitress, helping to supplement the income my mother brought in as she raised four girls on her own.
I earned my Bachelor of Design Studies while working full-time at an architecture firm, and later worked my way through graduate school for my Master in Public Administration. Like so many students in our county, I spent my days at the office and my nights and weekends on campus or doing homework – or organizing with other students to improve campus life and get more support for student activities.
I’ve worked in architecture, nonprofits, IT, and as administrative staff. I’ve also been a nonprofit senior manager, supervising interns (paid), admins, program staff and farm workers. And the thing I’m most proud of as a manager is the way that I invest in, develop, and support my staff members: making sure they have the resources to do their jobs well; taking their feedback seriously and empowering them as leaders; and valuing their learning and professional growth.
Workers matter. Our organizations and our economy don’t run without us – so our labor must be properly valued and respected.
Throughout this campaign, I’ve been clear about my commitment to building the power of working people and protecting their rights and dignity. That’s why labor unions and their allies in Montgomery County and across the country have endorsed me, including:
- Montgomery County Education Association – MCEA represents 14,000 teachers and educators in the Montgomery County Public Schools, and they are vocal advocates for education funding, educational equity, and ensuring that teachers can spend their time focusing on student growth and development – not paperwork and testing. Their “Apple Ballot” is considered one of the most influential endorsements in the county.
- UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO – MCGEO represents almost 9,000 public and private employees across 400 different job types in Montgomery County, as well as Prince George’s and Allegany Counties – from bus drivers to librarians to park maintenance workers. From its inception, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO has fought to protect workers’ rights, negotiate fair wages, and protect safety and security of workers.
- National Nurses Organizing Committee/NNU – NNOC is part of National Nurses United, the largest union of registered nurses in the United States with 150,000 members, including more than 2,500 who reside in Maryland. NNU has been organizing for the rights and safety of nurses here in Montgomery County, as well as fighting across the country for universal health care, economic justice, and environmental justice.
We’ve also been endorsed by Progressive Maryland, CASA in Action, and Metro DC and national Democratic Socialists of America – all organizations deeply committed to economic justice who organize with workers and labor unions to achieve policy and electoral wins for working people and their families.
Today, we celebrate what workers can achieve when we recognize our power and stand together to fight for a better future. Organized workers have done what many people believed was impossible at the time – from an 8-hour work day and workplace safety regulations to campaigns for universal health care and a $15 minimum wage that are changing the political and policy landscape across the country.
But just as on that first May Day, there are those who want to suppress workers’ voices in favor of corporate control of our government and economy. The spread of so-called “right to work” legislation in many states and the Janus v. AFSCME case currently before the Supreme Court are direct attacks on the ability of workers to organize in their workplaces. While these efforts are framed as supposedly protecting the freedom of workers, they only benefit the employers who want to keep workers from defending their right to fair wages and good working conditions.
With 8 weeks to go until the primary, now is the time to unite around a vision for working people and working families in Montgomery County. I am fighting for a fair economy, affordable housing, transportation access, equitable education, and a democracy that works for all of us – that’s my vision for a #Montgomery4All. But I need your help to make that vision a reality. Join our movement today as a donor or volunteer – and let’s win for workers on June 26.
Photo Credit: AFL CIO