I grew up in a middle class family, where we learned that if you work hard and play by the rules—in America—anything is possible. My dad is a carpenter, my mom was a school lunch lady–they taught my sister and me the importance of hard work to get ahead.

I was the first person in my family to graduate from college and I helped start a small family business. When the housing market collapsed, our business was forced to close its doors. That is why I am so committed to making sure other small businesses have the resources and support to succeed.

As a city councilmember and state lawmaker, I have been a consistent, determined voice for middle class families just like the one I grew up in. Together, we have invested in education, transportation and small business job growth. And we have protected our civil rights and the beautiful environment that makes Washington so special.

I am proud to represent a new generation of Democrats, and a new generation of political leaders—socially progressive, supportive of small business, and unafraid to stand up to special interests.