I often tell my daughters that they are not growing up like I grew up. As a child, I experienced housing instability and food insecurity, just as many hardworking families do today in Fairfax County. When my father, a Vietnam Veteran and GED teacher, spoke up about the way his private employer extorted its students, he was fired and we were then evicted from our house. I would spend much of my fourth grade living in a single motel room with my parents and siblings. My mother was a special education teacher and I didn’t know that we were the working poor. My parents showered us with love and attention in the face of our circumstances.
I’m running for Chairman of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors because there are two Fairfax Counties, divided by economic security and opportunity, and I want to close the gap. I have lived these two socio-economic realities and possess the experience, vision, and political courage to change the status quo and improve the lives of all Fairfax County residents.
I am committed to making sure that all of our communities benefit from the county’s economic growth. We are one of the wealthiest counties in the country but 8.7% of our children live in poverty. Under my leadership, Fairfax County can become the leader in the region for stemming the effects of income inequality — by investing in affordable and workforce housing, universal preschool, and economic growth that addresses the existential threat of climate change.
With the help of scholarships, federal loans, and a work-study job, I attended Harvard College, Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs, and then Yale Law School. I’ve spent the last 14 years of my career in areas that are critical to the future of Fairfax County – areas like commercial real estate development, small business development, community economic development, and nonprofit social services.
Now, as a law professor at Georgetown Law, my head has not been in the clouds but in the streets. I run a small public interest law center within the law school, advising tech start-ups, social enterprises, small businesses, and nonprofits. I teach my students how to help these organizations launch and scale. Our work intentionally includes small businesses founded by marginalized community members, including low-income entrepreneurs, returning citizens, and survivors of domestic violence. We also represent social service nonprofits that are filling the human needs that government has chosen not to.
Prior to teaching, I was a real estate attorney at a major law firm in New York City and worked on the acquisition and development of large swaths of commercial real estate throughout the country. This is the skillset that I’ll bring to Fairfax County – not just a professional skill set but the personal, lived experienced of the working poor.
I ask for your support.