An American scientist fighting for honest government.
My childhood was split between the rural northeast and the rural Gulf Coast. My dad worked at a dairy farm in Pennsylvania where I was born andlived until we moved to the Gulf Coast when I was just 8 years old.
As a first-generation college student who earned a scholarship to Syracuse University, where I worked 50 hours a week to pay my rent and living expenses through my bachelor's degree, I know what it's like to have to work to earn a living.
Through my Master of Science degree at Louisiana State University, and my doctoral studies at Florida State University, I worked as an instructor, emergency response tech, science communicator, and even led academic training for university faculty.
With two kids, rent, daycare, car payments and insurance, student loan payments, health insurance and everything that comes with just surviving, my husband and I could barely tread water on our state salaries, where we both worked as scientists researching public health and environmental issues for the state of Florida.
Instead of cashing in with my advanced science degrees, I carried with me the lessons my mother taught myself and siblings during hard times as kids: be the good you want to see in the world.
My sisters and I all went into public service. My older sister, a public school teacher in Mississippi, won speech and debate coach of the year for the second time in 2021. My younger sister has worked as an RN in both hospice and hospital emergency rooms across the Gulf Coast, from New Orleans to Gulfport. I became a scientist focused on furthering our understanding of climate and disasters after one-too-many storms hit home.
I made transparency and accountability the cornerstone of my efforts while managing the Florida Department of Health's public COVID-19 data and surveillance. My refusal to play political games with people's health and safety got me fired. When I refused to stay silent, my own government came after me - pointing guns at my children to threaten me into submission.
It didn't work. Now, I'm taking the fight for facts, science and civic duty to Congress.
With the support of my husband, Jacob, a biostatistician and public health researcher, and my two amazing kids - Jack and Evelyn - I am ready to serve the people of Florida again.
Let's elect someone to Congress who cares more about the people than the politics for a change.