I was fortunate to be raised right here in Yakima. My single mom taught me the value of hard work, the importance of caring for others, and the perfect recipe for chuck roast. We didn’t have much growing up, and sometimes I was made fun of because my family relied on public assistance—a sting that never completely goes away. Luckily though, Yakima provided so many opportunities to grow up in a safe and active environment. Yakima Parks and Recreation filled our summers with events, community centers, and swimming almost daily at Lyon’s pool. If my mom were still here, I’m sure she would thank Yakima for helping raise her children.
I worked all through high school to help stretch the family budget. So no one expected me to go to college—never mind earn a degree in education and become an assistant principal. Seriously, nobody thought that would happen. Life is often overwhelming, but after a few years of doubting my abilities, floating from job to job, and having my first son, this community provided the step up I needed.
I received state support from the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program to supplement my part-time income and prenatal care at the Yakima Health District. If not for that, my life would now be very different. Around that time, I was also hired as one of the original Union Gap Costco employees and will be forever grateful to them for working around my schedule so I could earn my bachelor’s degree in teaching.
What my mom and this community taught me about openness, courage, and integrity became a lifetime passion for education, public service, and a career that lets me solve problems and build forward in thoughtful, lasting ways.
Everybody deserves these opportunities. A shot to make a fulfilling life for yourself shouldn’t be reserved for just a few of us. That’s why over the years, I’ve devoted myself to showing up for every community in our rich and vibrant county. After school programs when I was a public-school teacher. Volunteering at community events. Marching side by side at rallies. Everyday conversations with everyday people. This is the stuff that matters. And it’s because of my commitment to this work, I have no tolerance for hypocrites who only pretend to care.
Our county has so much potential. It can be a place where everyone can thrive. I believe in that deeply. It is the north star that guides my work and this campaign. I have been so fortunate in my life—especially now with an ever-growing network of brilliant and compassionate friends who asked me to run for office before I knew I was ready.
I am ready now and am eminently qualified to be the next Yakima County Commissioner for District 1. Together, we can ensure resources and opportunities fit the needs of today’s communities so even more of us can achieve our dreams.
For almost 15 years, my responsibilities at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU) have required me to not only understand and apply standards and regulations, but to get others to embed them in their work and develop measurable outcomes. That skill is what got PNWU accredited two years ahead of schedule.
Planning (strategic, departmental, comprehensive, etc.) has been elemental in my career ever since serving on the Yakima School District Strategic Planning Team and writing the school improvement plans for Washington and Franklin Middle Schools over 20 years ago.
In 2014, I facilitated the first multi-year strategic plan at PNWU that laid the groundwork for the additional health sciences professional education programs being realized now. The last few years I have been working to build PNWU’s compliance, ethic, and integrity program.
I’m humbled to have been chosen knowing confidentiality, honor, and trust were central to the position.