For those of you who have not met me, there are three things you should know:
1. I grew up outside the United States (in India, Morocco, Brazil and Pakistan) and that experience indelibly shaped my dedication to community and diversity.
2. In my time as a State Representative, I developed a reputation as a high-energy progressive advocate and bridge builder.
3. We need to make our community work for everyone. With my progressive drive and expertise in health care policy and finance, I can help make that happen.
A Quick Sketch
I began my career in Washington DC at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). I , and built coalitions for nutrition policy in health care reform, and led a project to establish national organic standards- Now, when we go to the grocery store, we see that labeling in place.
I also worked for Friends Committee on National Legislation, focusing on constituent services and grassroots organizing on human rights issues.
These two jobs were my first, straight out of college. They started me on a path to a career in public outreach, social justice, and building the progressive network. Prior to moving to Minnesota, I did some interesting work in New Mexico, first as the Field Director for the Clinton-Gore ’96 campaign, focusing on innovative partnerships in the Hispanic and Navajo communities in an effort to engage people in the political process.
I then worked as a Democratic Caucus analyst, and was assigned to New Mexico’s House of Representatives Voters and Elections Committee, providing policy advice to legislators for protecting and expanding voting rights.
I came to Minnesota after finishing my MBA, and I have been actively involved with the DFL since they welcomed me in 1999. I’ve spent a term as Associate Chair of my Senate District DFL, and co-led a district-wide voter registration drive in 2004.
My passion for public outreach, social justice, and building the progressive network served me well in the legislature, but I will never forget the night on the House floor, when the Republicans succeeded in putting the anti-equality constitutional amendment on the ballot. We were devastated, but we walked out of the Chamber to a crowd chanting “we’ve just begun to fight” and saw a movement building.
I was so honored to be part of that fight. I worked tirelessly to help turn back the anti-marriage amendment, going so far as to donate my ‘government shut down’ paycheck to OutFront Minnesota.
I also worked to elect a majority in the Minnesota House that would pave the way for the historic passage of marriage rights for all- supporting democratic candidates across the region. Currently I get a huge amount of inspiration and insight from serving on these three boards:
1. OutFront Minnesota, the statewide organization leading Minnesota to full LGBT equality
2. Minnesotans United for All Families, the statewide organization that successfully campaigned for marriage equality
3. Ready.Set.Smile, a new nonprofit which, via the wrap-around services model, provides dental education and preventive services to underserved students in a school setting.
I also volunteer at the Neighborhood Involvement Program’s Uptown Community Clinic, and used to be a reading tutor at the Little Canada YMCA and at Robert Green Elementary.