After the divisive upheaval produced by the 2016 election, I decided that I needed to do something. I received an email about an upcoming march in Washington to advocate for those who could not speak for themselves and decided that was a way that I could move out of my own feelings of powerlessness.
We gathered at the National Mall early that January 21st morning, and began moving toward the staging area for the march. On the way, a young woman wearing a surgical mask was walking ahead of us. She sat down on a park bench to catch her breath, and I saw the handmade sign that she had been carrying. It read: “I have a terminal illness. What am I going to do if they (the Trump administration) take my healthcare away?” Tears welled up in my eyes, and we stopped to speak to her. One person in our group said, “I am so sorry that you have to be dealing with this fear along with your illness.” The young woman replied, “Don’t be sorry. I’M HERE today.”
I think of that young woman often because she became the reason that I decided to run for office. There are so many more in this country and in my district that need a voice who will passionatelyadvocate for them. I want to be a voice for you because “I’m here today”.
I have been a psychotherapist, clinical social worker and addictions counselor for over thirty-five years. The current political discourse doesn’t bring our nation together.
I have spent my professional career working with clients who are challenged in many ways. I have listened to them and helped them discover how they can empower themselves. These are qualities we need in Congress to empower those living in the 8th District.
We need to re-invest in the values that are being challenged by negativity and fear-mongering. We have serious issues in this country that are not being addressed adequately such as healthcare for all, equal protection under the law, good jobs and training to fill those jobs, and a nation that welcomes diversity in the talents and energy of an undivided nation.
We need individuals who will challenge the status quo without disparaging their opponents. The 8th Congressional District in Missouri is the eleventh poorest district in the country where someone living in Pemiscot County has a shorter life expectancy than someone living in Honduras. It is time for honesty and integrity to inspire the hearts and minds of all of us. It is time to listen to the needs of this district and help them empower themselves. I would like the opportunity to help initiate this change.