Growing up, my family would have been devastated to miss just one paycheck. My mom was a single teen mom living on food stamps before she met my dad. Three generations of women in my family lost custody of their children due to mental illness and addiction. I lost loved ones to suicide. And I’ve watched close family members try to get their lives back on track after spending time in prison. That’s why I’ve dedicated my career in Public Service.
Most recently, I was Deputy Secretary of Economic Development for New York, appointed by the Governor. While there, I worked on some of the biggest issues facing New Yorkers, from helping to pass $15 minimum wage and paid family leave to developing workforce programs, creating jobs, and investing in small businesses. I have experience dealing with emergency situations, and the economic aftermath. Part of my job in the Governor’s office was managing The Office of Storm Recovery. I led disaster relief for New York in Puerto Rico after Maria. The housing portfolio was also part of my responsibility. I fought for hundreds of millions of dollars of funding for NYCHA in the state budget after the federal government walked away.
New York City means everything to me. I first came here with $100 in my pocket and a way too much confidence that it would all work out. I had the traditional New York experience where I moved 10 times in as many years to afford a room to live in. But, I was determined, and inspired by Jane Jacobs and her vision for building an equitable city. I joined Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side, and got a job managing public parks and spaces. Ultimately I was able to build a family, get an MBA while working full time, and get a job in the Governor’s office.
Then I started campaigning and the world changed. But the issues I was campaigning on have not changed – they are more important than ever.