Because everyone in my family serves in the military, I was raised with a commitment to service and gratitude for our American values.

Because Rich and I are choosing to raise our family here and I want to invest in my children’s future, along with their future classmates’. Through my service on the Montgomery County Board of Social Services, I’ve been a part of efforts to reverse multi-generational poverty in our community. As a legislator, I will continue to fight for affordable childcare and quality education.

Because, as a second generation union member who has held leadership roles in the private sector, I understand that in order to build stronger communities, we need engagement with business leaders. Small business owners, in particular, are a driving force of our local economy, and they must be engaged as partners and community stakeholders.

Because immigrants in this district, just like my Grandma and Grandpa Lopez, bravely came to our country to build better lives for their families and have ended up building better communities for all of us. We should honor their contributions fully and stop any form of discrimination in its tracks. I fought for immigrant families like my own as a Congressional staffer and I will continue fighting as a state legislator.

Because Marylanders in upcounty will continue to be cut off from opportunity unless leadership tackles the lacking transit resources.

Because I’ve had a lot of time to think about transportation problems while sitting on I-270 during my commute. A long term fix that balances transportation and transit needs with environmental concerns and civil rights must be a priority for all state, local and federal officials representing Montgomery County. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation selected me to participate in their first Community Leadership Academy and I learned how local community leaders across the country are dealing with issues similar to Montgomery County’s.

Because even in a blue state, our reproductive choices are still not guaranteed. As a board member for NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, I’ve fought to change the archaic and dangerous laws still on the books through bills such as HB428 /SB574 Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, which allows a rape victim to deny parental rights to her rapist if a child is conceived in an assault. The fact that we still are fighting these kinds of battles infuriates me and motivates me more to fight to end gender-based injustice, once and for all.

Because growing up in an immigrant family, I saw firsthand that access to a quality education is the foundation for success and the pipeline to a middle class life. Children are 28 percent of our population in District 39, but they are 100 percent of our future. We have an obligation to ensure each child has access to a quality education and must fight to protect our public schools from the Trump-Hogan agenda.

Because the heroin and opioid crisis has hit an all-time high in Maryland. My family has dealt with the heartbreaking losses of addiction and the only way to fight this epidemic is through inclusive partnerships with faith leaders, law enforcement and the medical community.

Because President Trump and Republicans in Congress still have no plan of their own to insure the 400,000 Marylanders and 19,000 District 39 residents who received life-saving health care under the Affordable Care Act.

Because no one should live in fear of their government or have their inherent rights questioned. When one member of our diverse community has their dignity challenged, we all do.

Because there is a movement for resistance against Trump’s destructive agenda across this country and as part of that movement, I want to a usher in a more inclusive era in Maryland. It’s our time to show our nation that Maryland is an example of the enduring American ideals of equality, inclusion and dignity.