I spent many years as a stay-at-home-mom, then started a professional organizing business in 2014 – think Marie Kondo and whether or not your things spark joy. When the pandemic hit, my business shut down instantly and I once again stayed home with my kids as they struggled with online learning, and my husband worked from home in the basement. We were on the brink, and we barely made it through, but thankfully we did, with a little help from the plasma donation center down the street. While waiting in line there, I saw healthcare professionals in scrubs after just finishing a shift, and construction workers in reflective vests stopping there after a long day on the jobsite – to sell plasma for $60 a pop. I got mad, thinking to myself that no one should work full time and still be unable to make ends meet. There are cracks in our system, that my family has fallen into, that my neighbors have fallen into, and it’s well past time that we band together to fight against a status quo that works for too few.
In 2021, I got a job at a mass vaccine clinic that vaccinated 50K+ people against COVID-19. I’m proud to have been part of such a historical movement to protect the people of Colorado from this virus that brought our world to a standstill. It was also an opportunity for me to see firsthand that we’re not the only ones out there who deal with lack of access to healthcare. When a vaccine clinic in HD42 first opened that spring, I utilized my political outreach skills to call all the seniors in my precinct and make sure they knew about the clinic and had a way to get there. I am thankful that everyone could get the vaccine for free, with no worries about whether or not they were insured.
My lived experience through family and work absolutely informs my political values and policy goals. I fight for working class people to have living wages, affordable housing, access to high quality healthcare, and top rate education and career opportunities in their communities. These issues were a problem before COVID for sure, and the pandemic has only made them worse.
I’ve loved policy and politics since I was a teenager on the debate team. I have volunteered for countless campaigns, and have spent the past several years leading Democrats in my community to knock on thousands of doors to increase voter engagement and turnout. All to get progressive leaders elected who will tackle the problems we face. In HD42 we may not have a ton of economic power, but we have the right to vote, and we must use it. Our vote is our voice!
More recently I worked as (former) Rep. Jackson’s legislative aide, and when she resigned in December to take a position with HUD, I won the vacancy election to fill her seat. So I’ve spent the last few months drinking from a firehose during my first session, and came out of it relatively unscathed (if you don’t count sleep deprivation, ha!), having joined the Latino Caucus, passed 12 bills, learned everything I could, took advantage of every opportunity given, and I now look forward to the interim to craft legislation for next session that directly impacts the people of HD42.
In my downtime, I’m an avid thrifter (I’m at the ARC every Saturday possible at 8am), enjoy setting elaborate tables from thrifted finds, am a TV/movie/awards show junkie, love to write, enjoy organizing and planning, and also used to play roller derby (before I got my hip replaced at 34!).
Before I go, a little P.S. – I want to save a moment for my grandmothers, now both gone, who would be tickled to see their granddaughter in this role. My Grandma Nila Casias, born in the San Luis Valley, who raised four kids while proudly supporting herself by working as a housekeeper at the Holiday Inn by Mile High Stadium. And my Grandma Shirley Dykes, an orphan on the eastern plains of Colorado during the Great Depression, who did her very best to give her children a better life than she had. Both struggled, both endured, and both built a legacy which lives with me today. It is now my responsibility to fight for policy that will help the working people in my community, and would’ve helped my grandmothers in theirs.