I am a veteran who served 16 years in our armed forces. I started my military career in 1992 when I enlisted in the United States Navy, where as an Avionic Technician, I was the first woman to serve in that command. I was selected into a commissioning program and transferred into the United States Marine Corps. After four years with the Marine Corps I transferred to the Minnesota National Guard where I served as full-time officer. I became the first woman Air Defense officer and first woman commander of the 34th Military Police Company.
In 2008, I left the military and began working for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity where I developed government relationships as an advocate for affordable housing until 2013. Also in 2008 I founded the Women Veterans Initiative, a nonprofit organization advocating for equity in services and developing innovative programs to address the needs of Women Veterans.
I became a program officer for the Veterans Voices Program with the Minnesota Humanities Center in 2013. In this role, I developed programs to bridge the relationship divide between military and civilians. In 2016, I successfully passed legislation that declared October Veterans Voices Month in Minnesota. Veteran Voices month furthered awareness and recognition for veterans across the state.
Currently, I am a principal aide to the District 1 Ramsey County Commissioner.
My husband Hector and I have five sons, Taavo, 20; Hunter, 18; Kaelen, 15; Soren, 9; and Aren, 7. We live in the Payne/Phalen Neighborhood.