Aren't the candidate's kids off-limits?

This week we ran a Facebook ad targeted to reach voters all across the district. One of those ads featured a photo of my family: Bill and me, with our three kids in front.

We woke up the next morning to comments like this:

I know I am going too get stomped on an yelled at but why has she hot the children dressed like they r on Little House on the Parie

Now, I am prepared to take on a lot of nasty comments from social media trolls -- it comes with the territory when you run for office. But my kids are just beginning to navigate the world of social media. They were going to see this comment and feel hurt and embarrassed. And no mom wants that.

I wanted to respond in a variety of different ways (some of them with some very colorful language). But in the end, here was my reply:

There are families going bankrupt from outrageous medical bills, people worried about losing their jobs, kids going to school in overcrowded classrooms, and politicians who don't bother to show up and fight for what our community needs. Forgive me if it's hard to take your criticism about my children's sense of style seriously.

When I decided to run for office, we talked together as a family about how some people might choose to be mean, or rude, or hateful. And how the internet made it easy to say stupid things. You have given us a great example to mull over at our family dinner tomorrow.

Why am I sharing this?

First, I want to give you a little taste of why good people don't run for office (besides the long days and the endless fundraising and the knocking on doors in 95 degree heat). It's because as soon as you step out into the public arena, people feel like they can criticize not just you, but your family.

Second, I want you to know that I am committed to keeping my eye on the ball. As a Delegate, I won't be drawn into personal spats, mud-slinging or name-calling. Yes, I will call out bad behavior, but I will stay relentlessly focused on policy. There is too much work to do, and we can not afford to be sidetracked.

My kids write a thank-you note for every donation we receive. As they gear up for a note-writing party tomorrow morning (complete with pancakes, so sorry if your envelope is sticky!), I would love if they saw your name on our list of supporters for the week. Will you send a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100?

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These are the moments when I can really feel the community support behind this campaign, and behind my family.

Thank you for fighting alongside us,

PS -- When I talked to the kids about the nasty comment above, I had to explain what "Little House on the Prairie" was. They were highly offended once they understood, but also asked if we could watch a few episodes. Now they are calling me "Ma" and giggling uproariously.

Fighting for our most vulnerable kids

Each week, I sit down to write you a letter and tell you a little bit about what's happening in my life, what I'm seeing on the campaign trail, and why I'm fighting to make things better.

Today, I want to talk about the kids in our community.

  • We have a surge of new kids coming into foster care, stretching our social workers to the breaking point.

  • We have kids eating out of dumpsters, and property managers stonewalling efforts to bring them food.

  • We have kids with diagnosed special needs who are not getting the support services they are legally-mandated to receive.

  • We have kids that are on the verge of adulthood, who have never lived in a stable home for more than a year at a time.

These are not abstract cases -- these are specific examples brought to my attention over the last week. (I can't say more because of privacy concerns.)

It's so easy to think that politics is a game, that it doesn't really matter. But our elected officials make (or don't make) the laws that impact us in every important way:

  • Do we invest in our social workers, so that they have the skills and training to deal with the situations they witness every day?

  • Do we raise the minimum wage, so that parents working 40 hours a week are able to make ends meet, get adequate rest, and spend time raising their children?

  • Do we hold slumlords accountable, so that families have access to safe, affordable housing that meets the required regulations and codes?

  • Do we prioritize mental healthcare, recognizing that families need more than just physical well-being to thrive, and that for too long we're overlooked the generational effects of stress and trauma?

  • Do we fund our public schools and hire enough psychologists, special education teachers, social workers and guidance counselors, so that teachers can focus on teaching?

Where is our current Delegate on these issues? Where are the tough calls she's made in favor of our kids? In the 20 years she's been in elected office, where is her leadership?

It's time for change.

If you believe there are no "other people's kids" -- that we must fight for all of them, then please help us today. Support our campaign with a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100.

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It's going to take each and every one of us to overcome the political inertia in our District. But together, we can win.

Thank you,