A little about me which ties very much into my “why I’m running”:  I wear a lot of hats and each one of them has culminated into the person that I am today.  I’ve gone through a transformation over the last 5 years or so of finding my “authentic self”.  For the last 9 years, I’ve walked couples and individuals through a journey to finding Financial Peace through Dave Ramsey’s program.  I took a leap of faith 4 years ago to become a financial representative so I could walk alongside these people even further on their journey to breaking free of the burden of debt and learning to become more generous.  I believe that greed is a major culprit in almost every problem that we face and that generosity is the cure.  Less than a year into my new career, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.  My family grew stronger than I ever knew possible thru his battle and subsequent passing.  In losing my dad, I began to find myself.  

Having the freedom of running my own financial business, allowed me the time and energy to get more involved in my community.  I joined the Fine Arts and soon after stepped into the role of Vice President because I love our kids and our administrators and believe that music and arts are an essential part of people finding their own authentic self.  I believe that in a world where our stress levels are increasing exponentially – we need music and art as a way to express ourselves.  I see first hand how these kids open up and shine when they have these programs and our support. 

I own an antique store downtown with my two sisters, which led to my involvement with the West Branch Community Development Group (formerly Main Street West Branch).  I joined the Board of Directors in 2015 and now serve as Secretary.  I love this community and want to see it grow both in size and heart.  I want to build a better sense of community by bringing more people together in face to face situations.  Social media has gone a long way toward staying involved and informed in each other’s lives but it can’t replace face to face conversations.  I hope to inspire my community to get more involved with each other’s lives, to volunteer more, to reach out to people who are new in town or lived here their whole lives and invite them to join in activities, committees or just to talk and listen to each other’s struggles and celebrate achievements. 

I want to change the way we all view politics.  It shouldn’t be a taboo subject, we risk losing more generations of engaged citizens if we refuse to have these conversations.  I’m inspired and encouraged by the amount of new energy coming into the process right now.  I really see the focus starting to shift from a place of anger to one of empowerment.  By all means, we should be angry about a lot of things that are going on right now – but we need to make sure we are directing that anger toward the right direction in a way that can effect positive change.  I think the narrative has been framed that “we the people” have been sized out of the equation when it comes to being able to effect real change in our political system.  We have the passion and the momentum to change that, real change always comes from the bottom up.  I have listened for years as people shouted “stop talking about politics”.  I understand where they are coming from – the climate we have created is toxic.  My argument is that to fix this, we have to talk MORE about politics but we also need to practice how to do that in a constructive manner.  Passion is encouraged, disrespect is not.  It takes practice and each of us is human.  I really believe that if every one reading this would step out of their comfort zone and initiate just one conversation with someone with a different opinion as them and just sit there and listen without trying to prepare all the reasons they are wrong – but really try to understand why they fell that way, I think they will be surprised at how easy it can become.  I want to start to facilitate more of these conversations in and around our community.  We truly need to come together as a united front to fix our problems which is why I and others started the Indivisible Iowa group.  It needs to stop being so much about red vs blue, and start becoming about our neighbors and communities coming together with a genuine desire to WANT to fix this divide!