Like many women, my leadership path starts from being a daughter, sister, spouse and mother.
I come from a family with a strong tradition of public service and philanthropy. I have seen firsthand how an individual’s efforts can benefit entire communities. This was especially clear in 1999 when my father–the late California State Assemblyman Lou Papan — proposed legislation to provide financial assistance to firefighters suffering from work-related cancers. This groundbreaking legislation not only helped a firefighter we personally knew who was fighting for his life, but has provided support for subsequent generations of brave men and women who continue to put their own lives on the line daily, to protect our communities.
The tragic illnesses of my brother John and my mother Irene have also shaped my path in a poignant way. My mother Irene –as did my grandmother Virginia – led by the example that family comes first, and that women should not only be seen, but heard. Sadly, we lost my brother John when I was a high school senior, after he courageously fought a rare and painful illness for most of his life. Mom’s struggles included battling Lupus and then cancer. I voluntarily took time off from work to care for my Mother.
Like so many people, I too have endured the heartbreak of losing a loved one to cancer. Through all of their challenges, my brother and mother set the bar very high for strength and determination. My mom was an incredibly strong woman who never complained about her situation, and she and Dad taught me that everyone –young or old—should have access to quality healthcare.
These experiences, one public and the other personal, have instilled in me a passion and commitment to make the most out of life and work for the betterment of our families, our community and our neighborhoods. When you are around people who don’t have the chance to live, you become determined to ensure that you are spending your time on earth living a life that matters. Life is fragile, you only get one shot, and you can make a difference.
As your Assemblymember, I’ll lead the fight to ensure every Californian has access to quality healthcare –including abortions and contraceptives—mental health services, home ownership, a well-paying job and great public schools. Join me, and remember to vote in November!