The most common question I've received has been "So, why are you running?" It's a great question.
I have always been the sort of community member who wanted to help make life better for those around me, regardless of what community I have been apart of.
As a high school student, budget resources and access meant that our speech team was told we could no longer use the copier we had always used. I knew that my teammates needed access in order to prepare for our weekend tournaments. At the beginning of my senior year, I went right to the source and met with our principal. I brought a whole box of paperwork I needed copies of and explained that we could not be as successful that year without access to a copier. Because of that effort, we had the access that we needed in order to have another successful season.
In college, I was a first generation student paying my way through school. I was incredibly lucky to have grants and scholarships but encountered challenges along the way. I found that the career services were not catered to students, like myself, who could not afford an unpaid internship. I had difficulty getting answers to my questions from our financial aid office and had some maintenance issues in my dorm room. How could I get these concerns addressed -- to make my student experience better and help other students like me? I asked for a meeting with the University President.
I prepared an outline, knowing we would only be able to meet for a short time, and laid out my concerns. Most importantly, I provided some ideas I thought could be solutions -- a scholarship fund to support stipends for unpaid internships, an earlier notification of financial aid for the lowest income students to allow for budgeting and planning, and a liaison for first generation students in the president's office. The meeting was fantastic. I felt heard and was able to get help for my immediate needs. As an alumna, I have seen the expansion of services for first generation and low income students in our career center that I know will help future students who are in the financial situation I was in succeed.
When I had my first job and first apartment, I lived in a neighboring community outside of DuPage County. While I enjoyed my community, I found that visitor parking was incredibly limited for residents. Again, to address my concerns and the concerns on my neighbors, I went to the source. I emailed the village board and was thrilled to hear back from the mayor who asked what I thought would help the parking situation. I offered to do research of all the surrounding communities, looking at what their parking rules were, as well as population density. I sent him my findings along with a suggested solution. To my excitement, my parking research and solutions were presented to the village board at the next village board meeting (I could even see him holding up my documents as he spoke!) and a few short months later, there was a whole new visiting parking system.
Once I returned to DuPage County, I again wanted to be involved in making my community a great place for all residents.
So why am I running? Because DuPage county needs more voices in its local government. I'm willing to put in the work to understand the issues most important to residents of District 1 to make life in DuPage County more equitable for everyone. We live in a great community -- I look forward to working hard to make sure every resident feels heard when they have concerns and to make sure the opportunities DuPage has to offer are available to everyone.