Why I'm Running
Las Vegas has been my home now for nearly thirty-four years. When I was a child, my father was a firefighter and my mother sold Tupperware to make ends meet. After my father retired from the New York City Fire Department, we couldn’t afford to live in New York any longer so we moved. A lot. My parents sold our house and all of our belongings and we-- my parents, my sister and me, a dog and 3 cats!-- ended up living in an RV and traveling around the country. I attended 6 different high schools in 4 states where we lived in campgrounds and RV parks. When my sister and I attended Chaparral High School, we lived at the old KOA on Boulder Highway and I got my first real job at the Baskin Robbins on Desert Inn and Sandhill.
Through all my family’s moves, I learned how different the education experience can be, depending on the economic area where you live. I was the transient student that never met with a guidance counselor or was encouraged to think about my life after high school. After graduating, I went to work because college was out of reach financially and I had no idea how to navigate the college system. A few years later, I came back to Las Vegas looking for opportunities and a future. I attended UNLV part-time, worked multiple jobs to pay my tuition, and became the first person in my family to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree.
Several years later, I was accepted at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law. I knew that the hard work and sacrifice law school required would allow me to provide a stable life for my daughter. Being able to pay my way through college and earn a law degree allowed me to get a job I love and provide for my family. Having those opportunities made Las Vegas my home.
During the recession, I watched our neighborhood change as people lost their homes or gave up and moved away, leaving empty houses open to crime and blight. My daughter’s classmates disappeared from school as many families moved away after losing not only their jobs, but their hope that Las Vegas could provide a stable future. I became a legal aid attorney after law school because navigating the legal system alone can be overwhelming. Beginning my law career in 2009, I defended individuals and families against unlawful foreclosures, predatory lenders, and fraud, to help provide economic stability and security for the future. Now I see homes bought up by equity firms, wall street landlord funds, and out of state businesses. Workers are priced out of the American Dream and renting has become nearly impossible to afford.
Kenn, my husband, was raised in Las Vegas and we still live in the neighborhood where he grew up. Our part of the city has changed over the years, but what we want for our families has not. We want to ensure that our families and our children have the opportunities they need to build a quality life in a safe neighborhood. We want meaningful, quality education for our children, economic opportunities for our workers, and affordable, quality health care that doesn’t cost us our savings and our paychecks.
I look forward to meeting you, hearing from you, and working together to ensure a hopeful and sustainable future for Nevada.