Porches, Patios, and People.
My love letter to District 6
First, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge and thank every person that I have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know since I launched my campaign.
I wanted to get this out to you before the election because I don’t know what the outcome will be and I want this message to stay with you, whether we win or lose:
To date, this has been the longest year of my life (or at least has felt that way.) I have run an honest grassroots campaign – all while holding a full-time job that I am passionate about – and will always be proud of myself and my team for all the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into this election.
However, it has already been more than worth the sacrifice because you have changed my life. You let me in when I was cold out knocking doors this winter, and offered me tea and cookies. When it was extremely hot, you let me and my team find some relief in your air-conditioned homes. I sat on many of your porches and patios – always knowing that it was going to be a good conversation when someone said, “Have a seat.” I listened to your stories and you listened to mine.
When I first began knocking doors last fall, my whole team and I wore face masks. Connecting with strangers took extra effort than it had before. But even so, I listened to stories about how you lost loved ones to COVID, or how you or your partner left your jobs to care for your kids because you had no access to affordable childcare. I heard very relatable stories about how your pets were so used to you being home that going back to the office full time was going to be hard for them to take. Like me, your kitchen became your office, or like far too many Delawareans, your unemployment never went through or stopped too early. Even a year ago, we were all ready to be done with COVID but were still living with it – and to some extent, we still are.
I remember swapping stories about how challenging it can be to parent a teenager, especially because of the way social media is today. You shared with me your fear that your children may be hurt due to the speed people drive in your small neighborhood. Education was one of the most common topics people brought up to me. Your struggle to decide whether to place your children in private, charter, or public schools wasn’t easy. Some of you were worried about your children who are members of the LGBTQ community and them feeling safe in school and respected by those around them by using their preferred names and pronouns. And finally, the dozens of teachers I spoke with who love their job but are really struggling with all the responsibilities they have and the lack of support they receive- like buying their own students’ school supplies or the pressure to not miss a day of work.
Older adults shared with me their needs, like the unaffordable cost of a hearing aid and the lack of affordable senior housing in our state. I can’t forget a woman who shared how she struggled to keep a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who was so kind and caring to her husband by supplementing the CNA’s low hourly rate out of her own pocket. She knew that the extra money would allow the CNA to be able to afford the basic necessities and still provide care for this woman’s ailing husband. I empathize with some of you because of our shared experience of watching our loved ones slowly die because Delaware does not have an alternative, such as dying with dignity. These conversations made me develop an older adult platform that I will fight for because I believe with all my heart you deserve better.
Then came the overturning of Roe vs Wade, which was almost too much to bear. We shared our anger and pain over this horrible decision rolling back decades of progress for women. My heart broke for the many of you who fought so hard for the right of my generation to be able to make our own choice – only to watch it be taken away. It’s like a kick in the gut. I shared my own personal abortion story with many of you and you shared yours and we cried. I can’t tell you how many times I came home at night, grateful and drained, all at the same time.
The time I spent in Edgemoor was so meaningful to me, as my main motivation for running is to fight systemic racism and to break down the barriers that keep marginalized people down. The community is full of diverse folks – from retirees who have lived there most of their lives, to young families just starting out. We need to do more for our kids to give everyone equal access to education and to job opportunities when they get older. On the campaign trail, I heard several stories of police misconduct from law enforcement following people just because they are Black wearing a hoodie, being thrown to the ground without just cause. As many of you know, police reform is high on my list of priorities because no community should be afraid for their lives when seeing a police officer in their neighborhood. In order to rebuild those relationships and trust, there must be transparency, accountability, and true community policing.
And then there were so many of you, like me, who are concerned about the fate of our environment. The fear you have of what we are leaving our children is valid and like me, many of you are desperate for our leaders to take decisive action on climate change. We know that Delaware has high cancer rates because of our history of allowing corporations to make decisions in their best interest and to ignore the safety of our community. We can not continue to allow this and must hold them responsible for the continued poisoning of our state. Clean air and clean water shouldn’t be a luxury, and they shouldn’t be a political bargaining chip in our state legislature.
In closing, please know that this journey has been a gift to me and my family. I sincerely hope that I have earned your vote in the September 13th Democratic Primary. If elected, I will be a fierce advocate for you and your families.