As an only child, I spent a lot of time sitting around the dining room table listening to my parents and grandparents talk. I heard them talk about family, work, neighbors, politics. Through these conversations – and the lives they led – my family instilled in me the values of compassion and hard work. They also taught me the value of good government.
My great-grandparents were immigrants from Italy and Lithuania. They were welcomed to this country, and through hard work in the mills, raised their family out of poverty and built their own home. My grandfather was a union welder. He and my grandmother both supported the war effort during WWII by working in the shipyard. My father went to college through ROTC and is a veteran of the Vietnam War. My mother was a public school teacher. My family knew through firsthand experience that government - while not perfect - can help build communities, support the vulnerable and needy, and provide opportunities for people to improve their lives.
This background inspired me to give back to the community. As a teenager, I volunteered with disabled children and developmentally disabled adults. My first job after college was working for Clean Water Action where I helped people protect the air and water in their communities; it’s also where I met my future husband, Randy Walsh. My love of children and passion for science and nature led me to become a 7th grade science teacher. After several years as a teacher, I went back to school and got a master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University and began my career as a public policy analyst.
In 2001, my husband Randy and I moved to Colorado so that he could teach at the University of Colorado. I was hired by the State Legislature to be a budget analyst. Over seven years, I worked with many different state agencies. I evaluated programs, made funding recommendations, and helped developed the state's budget. While in Colorado, my husband and I also welcomed our two daughters, Piper and Zoë.
Although we loved Colorado, we missed the east. My husband grew up in Highland Park, and in 2008, we moved to Pittsburgh, settling blocks from where he had lived. Now my husband teaches Economics at Pitt and I work for a public policy consulting firm. My firm's expertise: helping state governments be more effective and efficient.
We’ve made our lives in Pittsburgh. It's where our children attend school and where my husband and I are active in our community. I am on my community council and volunteer with Obi, our certified therapy dog. We both volunteer at our girls’ schools. It's where we kayak on the rivers, hike in the parks, and enjoy the area’s cultural and culinary diversity. It's where we attend Pirates games and street festivals. Pittsburgh is our home and we love it.
And because I love Pittsburgh, I want more for it. Like you, I’m tired of inaction on the issues that are important to us: school funding, environmental protection, the need for a fair democratic process. Like you, I'm tired of the partisanship and finger-pointing. Our community deserves - and needs - better than that. We need to elect professionals who are focused on getting the important job of governing done. I know that government can do better: I’ve seen it, I’ve helped make it happen, and I want to put my extensive experience to work making it happen here, for us.