I want to start by saying that I don’t have all of the answers.
I’m just a Navy veteran and spouse and a mom that’s tired of seeing voices in our district go unheard, needs being unfulfilled. When we came to Jacksonville in the late fall of 2018, I did not expect to put running for office on my to-do list for after I met the two-year residency requirement.
Florida has nearly 100,000 active-duty military members serving in the state, but not one of our Senators has military experience in our district.
Veterans only make up 19% of the Senate, and I’d like to help change that — we need people in our corner that have experienced military life. I know what it feels like to check into a command and immediately recognize that the military housing is in disrepair and only have ten days to find a home that feels safe for my family for the next 2-4 years.
When I came into the military, I was promised a lot of things – “free” healthcare, a place to live, a monthly paycheck, retirement after 20 years if I wanted it and could manage to make a career last that long. Instead, I was denied access to healthcare because I didn’t know how to advocate for myself as a young Airman. The room I was given to live in was riddled with mold, and mold remediation of the neighboring barracks rooms were quietly done when the mold got so bad that we couldn’t simply “clean it” with bleach anymore.
Other military families too often experience the same thing, as news of families living in military homes that should be condemned hit the news on a regular basis. To add insult to injury, we’ve had to pay partial electric bills in housing when most of those homes were never wired in the first place for individual metering. Outside the bases, we constantly have the issue of BAH decreasing, so those that decide to live off-base are also penalized for doing what they need to do to keep their families safe, and that’s before we even get to soil and water contamination issues that have been documented by the EPA across military installations nationwide. And finally, the way retirement works altogether has changed, as well as adding fees to use Tricare itself as a retiree and we haven’t even gotten to the mess that the VA healthcare system has become.
I don’t know if I can stop all of the madness, but I want to be a part of the solution.
I’m tired of standing by silently as we watch the government chip away at the promises they made us and our families. I’m tired of watching servicemembers and veterans in my community go without simply because they don’t know where to turn, many of them hundreds of miles from home. I want to make sure that the things I had to live through during my military service don’t happen anymore to servicemembers and their families while stationed in Florida.
Many of these individuals go unheard in the communities that they are stationed in because they have chosen to vote with absentee ballots in elections, thus they are unable to vote for their local representatives where they are currently living. I want to represent the people in my district, all of the people — including those that are just passing through due to military orders.
I’m running for Florida State Senate in 2022 because I want to make a difference in my local community, my state, and within the military that I once served in.
I’d love to see more veterans and military spouses join me — let’s run for office together in 2022.