January 23, 2018 • BLOG ENTRY

One Year Later: Why I am Running

It was pre-dawn and I boarded one of the many buses headed to Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March. My busmates and I had no idea that we were making history. We just felt compelled to be together, to show solidarity in the face of Trump’s election.

As we traveled down the NJ Turnpike, the darkness lifted and all that we could see was bus after bus after bus.  And when we peered into the windows, we saw the smiling faces of women in pink pussy hats. It became clear that this was much bigger than what we had imagined. 

Arriving at RFK Stadium, we streamed out of our buses and began to march toward the grandstand.  We were anxious to hear Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Cecile Richards and the other scheduled speakers and performers.  To be inspired by them.  To be moved to action by them.  

Nearly a million women, men and children descended upon D.C. that day. Needless to say, we never got anywhere near that grandstand.  And we never heard the speakers.  But we did not need to - we drew inspiration and strength from the hundreds of thousands of other marchers who had shown up in solidarity against the Trump agenda and to support women’s equality and rights in our country and around the world.  The March was peaceful and in some ways solemn.  Truthfully, we were still in shock. In mourning. Unsure of what the Trump presidency had in store for us. 

That was a year ago.  And there are no doubts that Trump and Leonard Lance are hell bent on turning back the clock on reproductive rights, pay equity, immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, environmental protections, racial equality, healthcare reform, and workers’ rights.  And so we marched again.  

But this year was different. We are no longer introspective.  What was born on January 21, 2017, has grown from a moment into a movement.  Women, like me, are not waiting to be asked.  We are not waiting our turn.  We are not following the rules.  We are raising our hands.  We are running for office.  We are saying, “It’s our turn.”  We are running to take our rightful seats at the table. And when we get there, we are going to finally start listening to families and stand up for our districts, not buy into the political grandstanding that Trump and the GOP disguise as governing. 

Upon returning home from last year's Women's March, I made the decision to run for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District because for almost 10 years in office, Leonard Lance has done nothing to protect the women, children and families he is supposed to represent, and that needs to change.  I am tired of having a representative who votes again and again to defund Planned Parenthood, who votes to take away healthcare coverage from millions, and who answers to Paul Ryan and the Koch Brothers rather than his constituents. 

Trump's election has turned ordinary voters into a coalition of passionate activists. We are going to build on this momentum all the way to the midterm elections in November and beyond. There’s a blue - and PINK - wave headed our way.  To the polls!