I have been involved with Democratic politics my entire adult life, because it has always been clear to me that Democrats stand up for the people who need representation the most. I remember going door to door for JFK and knowing that my party truly represented change for the better. That feeling is still alive in me today, as my fellow Democrats and I continue to stand up for our children, our teachers, our social workers, the economically disadvantaged, and the physically and intellectually challenged.
I was fortunate to get involved in Jimmy Carter’s first presidential campaign. I didn’t have much money, but I had an unwavering commitment to Democratic ideals. I went with two other Memphians to Georgia and traveled with what became known as the “Peanut Brigade” to New Hampshire. Going door to door in Manchester to tell people about Jimmy Carter is one of my fondest political memories.
As a single parent, I was limited in what I could do to help elect people whom I thought would strive to make our society more equitable, and would expand opportunities for working Tennesseans to provide for and educate their children. I have worked in campaign headquarters for many Democratic candidates over the years, including Al Gore Sr., George Grider, and Harold Ford Sr.
During these years I worked for a Certified Professional Accountant, keeping books for a number of small businesses. I also worked for the City of Memphis as the director of Youth Services. Three friends and I owned the Blue and Gray Bookstore, which I operated for a period of time. In the early 1980s, I started a retail real estate consulting firm and traveled around the U.S., learning the shopping center business. I returned to Memphis in the late 1990s, when my mother’s health deteriorated.
I am proud to be a lifelong Tennessean, and particularly proud to represent my district in the state Senate. District 30 houses the University of Memphis, the Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis Brooks Museum, the Art Academy, and a vibrant artistic community. We have never been shy about being ourselves, even if that means sometimes being slightly out of step with the rest of the state.
I cherish my role as an advocate for people who might otherwise have none, and it is this role that continues to give me satisfaction and the energy to keep fighting. I am grateful to the people of District 30 for giving me the chance to keep doing what I love.