If you had asked me two years ago what I’d be doing now, I would tell you I’d be teaching calculus and statistics at SIUe, just as I have for the past six years. I never would have imagined I’d be stepping outside of the classroom and devoting my full time and attention to serving the residents of the 112th District.
However, over the past two years, I have watched as problems in Illinois have worsened with no resolution in sight. For me, the breaking point was watching my 16-year-old son, Dean, and 15-year-old daughter, Hannah, start to think about their next steps after high school. Half of what I do at SIUe involves training future math teachers, and as my own kids started thinking about their future careers, I began to ask myself if I would encourage them to go into the education field in Illinois. The truth is, while I would love if my kids became teachers, I worry that the resources and support they would need to be successful simply won’t be there.
That was the moment I knew I could no longer sit back and hope that things would change on their own. I could no longer train students for a field into which I wouldn’t feel comfortable sending my own kids. I knew that I had to be a part of the change and solution that brings Illinois back on track.
Over the past 4 months, I have been spending up to 60 hours a week knocking on doors listening to the concerns of people all over the 112th district. During that time, I’ve missed my kid’s athletic events, helping with homework, countless family dinners and other traditions. While this has been tough, my family and I understand that our sacrifice will help families and our local communities.
While Illinois is swamped with problems, from the ongoing budget impasse to ballooning debt, what we don’t have are representatives willing to work together to solve the issues facing our state. Instead, we have representatives focused on pointing the finger and assigning blame. As a teacher and a mother, I emphasize the importance of solving problems, not assigning blame. That is the approach I will use when it comes to solving the numerous problems facing our state.
My ultimate goal in seeking this office is to be a representative that will get to work and seek compromise with anyone willing to find solutions that benefit the communities I represent. This may not make me popular in Springfield, or within my own party, but truthfully, I don’t care. What I care about is serving the residents of the 112th district to the best of my ability and with integrity, not winning a popularity contest.
That’s my promise to the people of the 112th District. Send a teacher to Springfield, not a politician.