I’m a licensed social worker, law student, wife to Andrew, and mom to Rosie and Beau. I was born and raised in central Arkansas, and we’re proud residents of North Little Rock. Our community matters to me. This is home.
My daughter, Rosie, was born with a severe heart defect and a diagnosis of Down syndrome. She spent most of the first year of her life at Arkansas Children’s Hospital undergoing multiple surgeries and experiencing life-threatening complications. When we finally brought her home, I quickly learned that on top of caring for and bonding with our baby, we would have to fight the insurance and healthcare systems for her to have simple, lifesaving, medical necessities.
Rosie turned six last year. We’ve learned how to get her what she needs through the frustration and roadblocks. Still, the simple truth is, it should have never been that hard. Arkansans deserve to live in a state that puts patients and caregivers first and doesn’t cut corners.
When your family is in need, I want you to be able to focus on what matters.
When we adopted my son, Beau, his kindergarten year was right around the corner. Beau has Down syndrome just like his sister, so I knew we needed to consider his individual needs as he prepared to start school. I spent months learning about the special education system, from federal law all the way down to the schools in my community. It wasn’t long before I was known as the mom who could help other parents navigate the special education system in my community and beyond.
I became a fierce advocate for kids with disabilities and their parents.
While pursuing my social work degree, I trained hundreds of parents in central Arkansas and beyond to assert their child’s rights in the education system. I learned that the process of advocating for your child in a broken system takes a serious toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
But here is the good news: we can take on these challenges. Together we have the opportunity to change our outcomes, so that we can lead even better lives right here in our part of Arkansas.
We can make Arkansas schools places where every child can thrive. Parents should have confidence that their child can excel academically, socially, and emotionally. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, these goals have never been more important. This is the reality for every child and we know that every child is an individual in our care. I believe that the schools in our community matter. I expect nothing less for my family and yours.
As I run for this elected office, I can’t help but think of the first time we brought Rosie home from the hospital. I was a nervous wreck. I called a friend whose child had also been through heart surgeries. I told her how afraid I was – how I was so unsure what the future would hold for my precious child.
Then she said what I’ll never forget: The future is bright for people with disabilities.
As we went into the next year of health concerns and living out of the hospital, I clung to that promise, and to this day I believe it’s true for all of us.
We can make a bright future together – for all of us. I believe it.
With hope and determination,