Who am I?
I was born by two hardworking middle class parents in Cleveland, Ohio. Being of Puerto Rican descent, the values of family, working hard, helping others, loyalty, and obtaining an education were ingrained in my heart and mind. My family has always welcomed friends and family to live with us in their times of need. Helping those in need is very important to our family.
At an early age, I was diagnosed with a bleeding disorder that almost took my life. The condition prevented me from participating in childhood activities, such as playing sports because if I was injured, it would be almost impossible to stop the bleeding. During that time, I chose to engage in reading books on civil rights leaders and political movements. I was inspired by these leaders. This was when I decided to be a leader and fight for the voiceless. After a few years of failed treatments, the only option was surgery, but it would likely result in my passing. However, we decided to have the surgery anyways and it was successful. This experience was a defining moment for me. I decided to never take life for granted, because tomorrow is not promised. I decided to never be afraid to reach for my American Dream of making a positive impact by helping others.
My parents knew that a quality education was the key to achieving the American Dream. It was expected that I would obtain the education that they never had. I attended Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and was a first-generation college graduate, receiving a Bachelors of Arts while double majoring in Ethnic Studies and History. While at BGSU, I served as a leader in many different organizations. My leadership and academic accomplishments were recognized by my peers when I was initiated into Order of Omega, an honors society for leaders.
After undergrad, I attended law school at the University of Akron and worked as a Legal Intern. Upon completing my first year, I chose to pursue a different educational path and attended George Washington University to obtain a Master’s in Political Management where I will graduate in May. In addition to taking full-time classes in the evening, I began accomplishing my American Dream by serving full-time during the day as a Legislative Fellow for Senator Sherrod Brown. While in D.C., I witnessed the political process first-hand and decided to return to Ohio and run for Congress.
I was raised with a blue collar work ethic that is based on working together and getting things done. An ideal public servant holds the concerns and issues of the people as the most important priority, not the concerns and issues of special interest groups. Doing nothing is not a solution and will only make our problems worse. It is time that we take our seat at the table and make our voices heard. Our movement will bring new leaders, new voices, and new visions to Congress.
Why am I running?
Ever since I was a child, I have wanted to serve the American people. I am inspired by the great leaders of the past who taught the message of being the change you want to see. When I worked on the Hill, I saw first-hand how the American people were ignored in favor of special interest groups. This is wrong. The American people should always have their voices heard by their Representatives. That is why I decided that I would run and be the person that provides a voice to the people.
I am running for this office because we need a Congress that will work in the best interest of all Americans. We cannot continue to have elected officials that would rather campaign and go on recess than solve the problems that are hurting millions of Americans. I chose this office because Federal office is the best way to solve the important issues of the American people such as creating a true universal health system, making college affordable, student loan forgiveness, creating a strong middle class through job creation, better education, and taxes that do not leave the middle class paying a higher percentage than the wealthiest billionaires. I chose this office because the LGBTQ community needs to have all of the same protections under the law as every other American. I chose this office because women should be able to make their own health and economic decisions. Women also should be earning the same amount as men do for the same work. It is unconscionable that in 2013, women still only make 70% of what men do. I chose this office because we need to stop spending more on war than we spend on education. I chose this office because Dreamers who have always grown up as Americans should not be afraid that they will be deported to a country that they have never been to. There are a multitude of reasons why I have chosen this office. If you would like to know more please visit my website.
Our movement is about more than a few policy goals. It is about a vision for the future. If I had to choose, my top three policy goals would be comprehensive education reform, civil rights for all including women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community, and creating jobs to expand the middle class. I am a believer that most issues impact other issues. Therefore, in order to solve a problem, we need a comprehensive approach. We can create all of the jobs we want, but if the next generation of workers do not receive the education necessary to work those jobs then the jobs will go unfilled. Additionally, we cannot have a stable economy that expands the middle class if women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community are getting paid less and do not have the same protections under the law. We also cannot have a stable middle class if our future leaders are stuck paying back $50,000, $60,000, $100,000, or $200,000 in student loan debt, which is what I will owe once I graduate. We need to have Representatives that believe in our vision for the future. We need new leaders who can work together and pass real solutions to our problems, not just bandage them for another year.
When I was on the Hill, I worked on many issues involving education, LGBTQ civil rights, creating jobs for hardworking Americans, immigration, ending the prison industrial complex, protecting SNAP, and women's rights among many other issues.
I cannot promise you that I alone will be able to solve all of these problems because that is not realistic. However, what I can promise is that I will always fight for these progressive ideals, you will always know why I voted a certain way on a bill, and you will always be able to directly communicate with me via social media. I will not be filtering my answers through a Press Secretary or a Communications Director. The American people have a right to be able to speak with their leaders and make their voices heard. Now, I will not be able to always respond to every Tweet or Facebook comment, but I want to build a real relationship with my constituents and the American people and I will do my best to remain as transparent and accessible as possible.
My DFA Values
Our movement is the embodiment of community, security, and liberty because our country is stronger when our people are stronger. It makes no sense that we care more about funding wars than we do on funding education and healthcare. It makes no sense that we refuse to create jobs and pass comprehensive immigration reform because we would rather use the money to build prisons and walls to keep new talent from joining our society. It makes no sense that we care more about what someone's sexuality is than the fact that thousands of Americans have to declare bankruptcy because they got sick. The values of community, security, and liberty are very important and will always be a priority.
My Campaign is People Powered!
Thus far, our movement has reached out to student loan, college affordability, and Millennial advocacy groups to build a partnership where we can advocate for change, but also elect people that believe in our vision. We have reached out to LGBTQ civil rights groups to build partnerships on the ground to support our vision of equality for all. We plan to build upon these relationships by building a coalition of like-minded people that will vote and advocate. I would like to see a day where we work in solidarity and not view ourselves as only an advocate or only a politician. It is about working together to progress our vision for the future.
It is time that we take our seat at the table and make our voices heard. We need new leaders, new voices, and new visions in Congress. The only way to do this is to provide an avenue where the people can have a voice through open communication with their candidates and elected officials. Our movement will be an example for other campaigns by opening the doors of communication. On our website, there are many different ways to interact with our movement. If you are on Twitter, follow me and send me a Tweet. If you are on Facebook, like our page and comment on our posts. If you are on Pinterest, go to my page and learn about the things that interest me besides politics. There are numerous ways for supporters to get involved in our grassroots movement.