As a mom, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to balance a busy life. From family and community to work and social events, it feels like each day is a race to the finish line. While there are always a million things to do, making time to help create a government that works for all of us has never been more important. I’m running for Congress because Southern mamas know how to get the job done!
Knowing when to stand up for what's right runs in my blood. It's possible I inherited that commitment from my 6th great grandfather, Simeon Pomeroy. On April 19, 1775, he was among those firing the first shots of the American Revolution. He made a commitment and acted upon it because he understood, as I do, that our loyalty to family and community is what makes us the greatest country in the world.
I was born in Nashville and grew up in the Alabama Delta. While my inheritance is not one of generational land holdings and wealth, my family legacy is of a deep and abiding faith and commitment to an active betterment of our country. In the small towns I lived in, there were thriving downtown areas, church picnics, and gatherings at the Tasty Freeze.
If that sounds idyllic, it many ways it was. But I also grew up learning that life wasn’t always fair and you couldn’t wait for someone else to make it better. I saw the way my mother was devastated when her marriage ended. I watched her struggle when the child support didn’t come and the safety net of welfare was the only way to keep our heads above water. I watched as she went back to school to get a better job and we made do with cheese sandwiches and hot buttered rice – and we didn’t give up. When we had to move across the country for her job it wasn’t a question of whether we would enjoy living in North Dakota – it was the reality of what you do to provide for your family. While she was struggling to provide just as so many do today, there was something different then: a fair day’s work meant a fair day’s pay.
I learned lessons about patriotism, action, conviction, fairness and hard work from my ancestors, from my mother, and from my neighbors. I worked hard in school and was awarded a scholarship to attend University of Mississippi. My experience in school and in higher education solidified my views of the true value of a world class education. And I also met someone who shared my values and views, and whom I soon married. Shortly thereafter, we came to Georgia to build our lives together. Now,16 years later, we continue to live our lives by those lessons and our commitment to community and family as we raise our daughter.
Here in Georgia I have been blessed with many opportunities to teach and perform music. I maintain a small business as an independent contractor. I have carried my passion for helping people and families into working in children’s ministry. It was through my ministry work that I was able to advocate for Immigrant children with a national coalition called the Evangelical Immigration Table, and we worked to educate our congressmen regarding common sense immigration reform.
My husband, Ken, has been a public school mathematics educator for many years and has, like me, found himself face to face with many of the unsolved problems we have in our country. In his work he sees, first-hand, the consequences of generational poverty and under investment in our educational system. He is a tireless worker who teaches children and prepares them for the world they will inherit. Yet he is consistently faced with the effects of greedy and short-sighted public policy.
Seven years ago, we welcomed our only daughter Gwendolyn into our family. She is spunky and smart, and like any parents we are so proud of her. She is also the reason I am no longer satisfied simply to protest the injustices of our time.
At the age of two, my daughter was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Since then, she has taken daily pain medications at the maximum dosage for her body. You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but she suffers every day and nevertheless, she persists.
We were particularly concerned in May when the AHCA was coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives. We had been told our daughter would have to begin a regimen of a low dose chemotherapy drug. We would need to visit the lab and the doctor more often.
On Thursday May 4, the National Day of Prayer, Reverend Jody Hice took up his duties as Congressional Representative for the people of the 10th district, and he voted against my daughter, and every other child who suffers with a chronic illness. He voted against every family struggling with medical bills that relies on Medicaid, every family that finds itself facing a sudden serious illness without enough to cover the expenses, and he voted against them without even taking the time to meet with them to talk about why.
And on that same Saturday, my seven-year-old daughter went to her piggy bank, emptied it into a bucket and told us she would pay for her care herself.
While I had been considering running for office for some time, it was in that moment I realized that if our Congressman would not show her what it means to be a voice for the voiceless, that the responsibility must fall to me.
I am ready to journey on the same roads that my family has journeyed. As a daughter of courage and persistence, I am prepared to confront the inequities of our present governance. I am committed to effectively representing my constituents. I am running to be the Congressional Representative for the Georgia 10th District because we need real leadership, we need real community responsibility that isn’t about ideology trumping all things, and we need to recognize that we are one people, Americans, working together to make our country the best it can be for our families and our future.
I have been poor. I continue to work hard for everything I have. I have had to show others that I was willing to put in the effort to earn their respect. I have had to make tough choices and still made a commitment to be an educator, to minister in my church, to start a family and make the sacrifices that come with having those rewards.
Right now, I hear the call to arms to stand up for what we believe truly makes this country great – I am ready to serve...
For every voice.