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MEET MEL

Your Common Sense Candidate for a Change.

"What unites us is so much more powerful than what divides us."

As an advocate, a small business owner, a wife and mom of two, I recognize that so many of us are motivated by the people we care about and work to serve.  For some of us, our focus is on our students, for others, our clients or patients. For most of  us, it's also our families and loved ones. As an advocate, I learned to listen to those who are traumatized by having someone who was precious to them taken by gun violence.  Speaking in our General Assembly as a survivor myself, I also listened to those with opposing viewpoints and different perspectives while acknowledging the commonalities we share in order to reach an understanding, if not always an agreement. As your Delegate, I will listen, consider my constituents' concerns and perspectives, and consistently fight for public health and the safety and welfare of ALL our families and individuals.

The last few years have seen our country and our communities plagued, not only by the Covid pandemic, but by a coincident failure on behalf of our elected leaders to address our public health needs, our public education and the safety and welfare of our communities.  On a personal level, I lost my small business as a contracted seamstress when Covid hit last year and the wedding industry fell apart.  Like so many of us, I found myself struggling with whether my kids could safely attend school in person, with a spouse who now worked from home, with all of the requisite changes that happened in the daily lives of us all.  I was one of the lucky ones.  I didn't lose my house.  I didn't lose my family members to Covid.  My family has enough to eat, has been relatively healthy and those who were able have gotten vaccinated. 

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But, we are all dealing with the pain and loss that has resulted from dealing with a worldwide pandemic.  It has increased stress, loneliness and anxiety for us all.  At a time when our nation is facing one of its greatest tests of compassion, unity and patriotism- both our leadership and our citizenship have often fallen short.  Some of our leaders- whether local, state or federal have failed to follow the advice and expertise of public health authorities like the World Health Organization or the CDC. They have failed and continue to fail to model the simple, life-saving daily actions of wearing masks indoors or getting vaccinated.  Instead of the unity we so desperately need, the most basic of Covid mitigations has become politicized and divisive. This polemic is so damaging not only to our public health and our communities but also to Virginia's legislative progress on issues about which most of us agree.

 

None of us is an island.  If we didn't know that before Covid, we must know it now. The 2020 election should be seen as a rejection of extreme political divisiveness and a new hope for real leadership and solidarity in the face of an enormous public health crisis. Our efforts going forward must include working together to mend what has been broken by years of inaction and polarization. None of us wants to see more gun violence or illness or suffering. We all want health and happiness for our families and loved ones, and protections for our environment that sustains us. Some of our most important front-line workers are not fairly compensated. We must acknowledge our country's need for a national affordable health care plan for everyone.  We must recognize and compensate for the sacrifices that are made, most often by women, for taking care of children and aging parents.  And we must address the racial and income disparities that leave some of our most vulnerable citizens without the healthcare and preventative measures we all need to be safe and well.

With a little ingenuity and grit, we can do hard things when we do them together.

We better get going.

Let's go do something different.

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