So, What Now?
So much has happened since I completed Leadership in 2018. I had no idea what I was going to do with myself once Leadership was over. I had that déjà vu feeling of crossing my High school stage to receive my diploma and wondering, what now?
For me, the most inspiring session was learning about legislation and our trip to the Legislative Office Building. I was so inspired and thought to myself, “This is where we can be heard; this is where I can make a difference.” I started making trips to Concord and sitting in on committee hearings and house sessions. It just felt so right to be there!
Running for office was another new experience for me. It was exciting to meet so many wonderful people. The morning before the November 6th, 2018 election, my beautiful daughter Erin passed away, throwing me into a spin and giving me a kind of heartache, I had never before experienced. She was so proud of my running for State Representative, so I felt even more committed and dedicated to winning a seat in the house.
I am now in my second term as Rep. for Strafford County D-18, Rollinsford and Somersworth. Once again, I sit on the Judiciary Committee and am a member of the Disability and Children’s Caucasus.
In my first term, with another Leadership alumni, Representative Tamara Le who was instrumental in getting this bill passed I co-sponsored House Bill 628; relative to universal changing stations in certain places of public accommodation.
The current session has brought me before the judicial committee as the prime sponsor of HB 540; Supported Decision Making as an Alternative to Guardianship. I became guardian of Erin when she turned 27. This created such sadness in our relationship. The bill passed out of committee 21-0 and if signed into law it will be beneficial for individuals aged 16 and over who need guidance to understand and make their own decisions.
Outside of the legislative world, I have joined the panel of “Living and Learning with Disabilities” on Portsmouth Public Media TV and on SoundCloud Podcast under "LLDisabilities". The program focuses on people living with a disability, those who love and care for them as well as folks who provide services for people impacted by disability. Our guests tell their stories in hopes of providing information and understanding to and for a community that is seldom served by mass media. We have featured many Leadership alumni and in May will be wrapping up the show for the season.
Thank you for letting me share the highlights of my journey finding my passion, my voice, and my action.
Class of 2018