STATE

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

leg­is­la­tors to pass good com­mon­sense gun-con­trol laws, sup­port fam­i­lies by push­ing for a liv­ing wage of US$15 an hour, and to dis­man­tle the school-to-prison pipe­line. And it’s this back­ground that helped me make the de­ci­sion to run for state rep­re­sen­ta­tive here in the States.

“My win over a 24-year in­cum­bent, and one of the most pow­er­ful per­sons in Rhode Is­land was won by the peo­ple of my district who needed a leg­is­la­tor who would work for all of its con­stituents. It was also won by the hun­dreds of vol­un­teers and donors who be­lieved in my mes­sage. My fam­ily and my sib­lings also helped and sup­ported me as they have al­ways done.”

But even as she takes on the fight to en­sure fair­ness in rep­re­sen­ta­tion for her Rhode Is­land com­mu­nity, she still has an ear and a heart for op­por­tu­ni­ties to help in Ja­maica.

“Books gave me wings, so for the last three years, ev­ery sum­mer my sib­lings and I head back to our old neigh­bour­hood in Eleven Miles, Bull Bay, and, through the gen­er­ous do­na­tions of fam­ily and friends here in the United States, we have dis­trib­uted thou­sands of K-12 books and school sup­plies to chil­dren in need,” she says.

“I am a born-again Chris­tian and I at­tend Ebenezer Bap­tist Church, but my home church in Ja­maica is the church my fa­ther started in 1963, the Eleven Miles New Tes­ta­ment Church of God.”

PRAISE FOR PAR­ENTS

Books gave me wings, so for the last three years, ev­ery sum­mer my sib­lings and I head back to our old neigh­bour­hood in Eleven Miles, Bull Bay and through the gen­er­ous do­na­tions of fam­ily and friends here in the United States, we have dis­trib­uted thou­sands of K-12 books and school sup­plies to chil­dren in need.

She gives high praise to her par­ents, and her grade-school teach­ers.

“My flight from poverty also came be­cause I had the great­est teach­ers at Bull Bay All-Age School. They in­vested in me and en­cour­aged me to dream big, work hard and I could be any­thing I wanted to be.”

Her world view is in­flu­enced by the value sys­tem that her par­ents in­cul­cated in all of their chil­dren. “You work hard, you re­spect peo­ple, you be­lieve in the power of God to do won­der­ful things and you give to your com­mu­nity your tal­ents, your trea­sures and your time.”

She earned a diploma in teach­ing from St Joseph’s Teach­ers’ Col­lege and taught at School of Hope for The Men­tally Hand­i­capped as well of John Mills All-Age School in Kingston.

Now a high-school English lan­guage arts teacher, she holds a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence de­gree in com­mu­nity health ed­u­ca­tion from Rhode Is­land Col­lege, a grades 7-12 English cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and a Master of Arts de­gree in spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion from Prov­i­dence Col­lege.

She lives in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Is­land, with hus­band Van Vas­sell and their three sons – a 23-yearold and 20-year-old twins.

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