My reasons for running are rooted in my personal, political, and professional experiences. I have deep concerns regarding the polarization we are experiencing in our state and nation. Our political discourse is often mean-spirited, full of personal attacks, and leaves little room for compromise. I believe that we can do that better than this. I don’t expect us to agree all the time, but I do believe we have serious issues facing us in the 7th District that require thoughtful people working together to address common problems.
In June of 2016, my daughter received Gonzaga Prep’s Teacher of the Year Award. In the fall of 2017, she took her own life to silence the voices and the delusional thinking that had taken over her mind. In spite of our round-the-clock efforts to assist Caitlin we were not equipped to find a solution that could save her from her crippling mental illness. From this terrible time in our lives, we learned that many other families in Eastern Washington are facing similar challenges for which there simply is not enough support and resources. I believe that we can do better than this for our families in the 7th District.
My father started his optometric practice in Colville and later moved to Spokane. After his retirement, he started one of the few free vision clinics in the country at the Union Gospel Mission in Spokane. It is still up and running and bears his name. My dad was a staunch conservative, but it bothered him greatly that a person’s income would determine access to adequate health care. He believed that we could do better as a society in providing access to health care. I believe we can, too.
I have dedicated my entire adult life working with young people and education. As an elementary teacher in Mead and Deer Park, I witnessed firsthand the positive impact of good teachers and good schools. I also saw the difficulties children brought to our schools due to circumstances that were beyond their control. I believe that with adequate support for families and communities, our teachers and schools will be more effective in meeting the needs of the families in our state.
For the last 33 years, I have worked in teacher education at Whitworth University. My work as a faculty member, department chair, faculty president, associate provost, and dean have given me the experience and skills to listen well, problem solve, and find common ground. I have witnessed the power that having access to college has made in thousands of people of all ages. I believe that increasing access to higher education in the 7th District will improve the lives of our citizens and strengthen our economy.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus states, “Love your neighbors as yourself.” I believe this is an important guiding principle for elected officials; we should see all of our citizens as our neighbors. I ask that you join me in supporting my efforts to be your elected official.