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Learn More About Michelle

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My Story

I first became interested in politics when I was 14 years old and served as a senate page.  I went on to obtain dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and communications. This included a semester long internship with the Democratic Majority Leader of the Washington State Senate.  After graduating college, I took a job with a non-profit workforce development agency that operated contracts for federal, state, and local government entities to place disadvantaged populations in training and employment. My first clients were individuals with developmental disabilities. I served as a job coach to help them secure and retain employment in the community, mentoring them and helping them to develop natural supports in the workplace.  For my clients who were unable to hold employment, we developed an access program to help with volunteer opportunities and participation in activities and events in their community.

When the organization received funding for welfare-to-work, I transitioned to supporting clients on public assistance with new jobs to address barriers to continued employment.  The goal being to focus on long-term success and reducing or eliminating the need for TANF funds. My role grew quickly, as the program expanded to provide education, short-term training, job placement assistance and workshops for labor market research, resumes, interviewing techniques, soft and life skills.  We also had classes for individuals to obtain their GED. 

My role with the organization grew quickly, as I rose through the company ranks holding a top management position within just a few years. In my role on the leadership team, I had to collaborate with government agencies and community partners on all levels to ensure our programs would thrive and remain funded. I played a key role in building the welfare-to-work team from the ground up, including program design, hiring, training, evaluating, and retaining staff. It was a challenging job that I reflect upon often, which helped shape my continued support for programs that provide a path to success versus what we’re seeing in the Louisiana legislature now, which are just pipelines for poverty and prison.  There is a large disconnect between many of the elected officials and the needs of the people who live in Louisiana.

In 2004, I started at the Loyola University- College of Law in New Orleans. Since graduating from Loyola, I have practiced labor and employment law. People often assume that because I became an attorney, that this runs in the family.  I am actually the only attorney in my family, and still paying those law school loans. I was raised in eastern Washington by two public school teachers who not only taught me the value of education but were supportive of any career path I wanted to take.  My paternal grandfather was a steel worker, my maternal grandfather was a dairy farmer. Both of my grandmothers were homemakers, one also worked as a secretary in a medical office. All taught me the value of hard work and perseverance, but also that regardless of what you do, it takes all of us working together to build stronger communities.

After graduating from Loyola in 2007, I worked in Tampa for two years.  I missed New Orleans and moved back in 2009 to become a permanent resident.  I remember going to the Sewerage & Water Board to have the utilities transferred in my name, and while driving down St. Joseph Street I was behind a person that looked like Santa Claus, who was wearing a floral print dress and hat, and riding a beachcomber.  I thought, I am home.

I met my better half, Bob, during law school.  He’s a retired Marine with over 26 years of service, who was born and raised in New Orleans, and also practices law here.  We have four rescued cat fur-babies: Betty, Burt Reynolds, Ernie (Ernest Hemmingway) and Leonard (Hofstadter).  

New Orleans is my home, which is why I’m running for the DSCC 91A seat and for DPEC in Dist. B. We cannot just continue to be the blue dot in a red state. Elected officials that are not part of the New Orleans community greatly impact our lives and livelihoods. We should also care about people that live outside of New Orleans who are facing many of the same challenges: lack of access to education, opportunity, good paying jobs, health care, safe communities and more.  The state Democratic Party needs a reboot, and I’m committed to seeing that happen.

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