I grew up in New Jersey and was raised by two hard-working parents who generally seemed to vote for Democrats. It was the 1970s and I clearly recall Jimmy Carter as president, a nice enough guy who truly wanted to adhere to the Biblical mandate of being his "brother's keeper." Unfortunately, he was a terrible president. During his administration, I remember sittiing uncomfortably in our station wagon with no air conditioning waiting on long lines while my parents waited to buy gas.
As a child, I never missed an episode of Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons. Now I realize how important the values imparted by these shows -- particularly those related to family, God, and self-reliance -- were in forming my personal political ideology and instilling in me a love of this country. These lessons were reinforced and supplemented by those I was taught by the nuns at the Catholic schools I attended.
As a teenager and young adult, I did not appreciate the presidency of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. I even remember walking the streets of Worcester, Massachusetts, where I attended Holy Cross College, waving a "Mondale/Ferraro" sign! I often justify the attitude of my youth with a quote attributed to Winston Churchill (although he was probably not the first to say it): "If you are not a liberal when you are young, you have no heart." I continued to identify as a Democrat for another decade. As I worked in Boston-area academic libraries including those at Boston College and Emerson College, I was definitely in the majority politically.
The quote above goes on to say that "If you are not a conservative when old, you have no brain." Indeed, as I got older and married my husband Mark, bought a house in Atkinson, and had three children, I did experience an about-face in my political ideology. Settling in the "Live Free or Die" state was certainly a turning point in my life! My transformation began as I became involved in New Hampshire's school choice movement. After sending my oldest child to St. Joseph's Regional Catholic School in Salem NH, I began to feel that all parents, regardless of income, should have the same opportunity to choose the school they considered best for their children. I did a lot of research on this topic and on the proposed policy of Education Tax Credit Scholarships. I wrote a series of letters to the editors of local newspapers and testified before the New Hampshire State Legislature's Education Committee in support of school choice.
After my experience with this educational issue, I began to question my beliefs concerning other issues and realized that my values didn't really align with the Democratic Party. Instead, I realized that I was actually very conservative in my perspective. While I was going through this metamorphosis, I was also attending the University of New Hampshire. I decided to go back to school when my children reached school age to earn a master's degree in English Literature. Once again, I was thrust into a liberal environment, but my own perspective challenged this ideology. I pursued my studies in my own unique way, for example, undertaking a semester-long research project which focused on dispelling misconceptions about a very underappreciated group, Civil War reenactors, who preserve important lessons about history.
After receiving my graduate degree, I continued my freelance writing projects but also taught composition courses at a number of local colleges, primarily St. Anselm's. Since writing a persuasive essay was one requirement of the basic course I taught, I found myself, as I graded hundreds of these papers, considering a wide variety of controversial issues from multiple points of view. While I occasionally gave A's for well-written papers supporting pro-choice legislation and stronger gun control, this only strengthened my personal conservative convictions regarding these issues. I also designed a course that I called "American Adventures" that focused on 19th-century American literature and emphasized the values of self-reliance, independence, and freedom. Another college course that I created provided an overview of utopian and dystopian literature; ironically, the first time I taught this course was Spring 2020, a semester that would forever be remembered for the dystopian situation created by a world-wide pandemic! After leaving academia for a variety of reasons including Zoom burnout and vaccine requirements, I began to write articles on Substack related to the utopian and dystopian literature that I had covered in my final course (Nowhere: Lessons from Utopia and Dystopia").
I never considered running for a political office until recently. My interest in politics was always that of an observer and a student of history until a couple of years ago when I began to realize that governmental abuse of power was threatening the country I love. The future of America depends on an educated electorate and citizen participation. Our founders gave individual states most of the power so that citizens could rule themselves with little interference from the federal government. State legislatures, as has become apparent to me over the past two years, are therefore the best deterrent to tyranny.
I am honored to continue the story of my life with my participation in New Hampshire's State Legislature where I would fight for the American values of faith, family, and freedom.