I am a Harper Woods resident. And after years of sitting in the audience at Council meetings, I was fortunate to be elected to Council in 2015. What a learning experience! Over the years I learned the backstory to community issues and how better to listen to the people who live and work in our city, and how best to work with my colleagues to do right by our residents.
Why do I want to be our next State Rep? Because after years of volunteerism, community activism, municipal government experience, and growing up in the school of hard knocks, it's about time. Now is the time to work for and with all our communities for equity and justice, with laws and policies that enrich our lives for this very moment and for the long haul.
Who am I? I am the person you can trust to listen to you, advocate for you, and work with you.
I believe that my life experiences reflect the diversity of people throughout our District and have helped me become the best candidate for State House District 11.
I am second generation Mexican American. My family moved to Michigan from Texas in the 1960s for work in the auto industry. I am the eldest of 5 kids. For a few years, we weren't allowed to speak Spanish at home so that we would "assimilate" with our mostly English-speaking communities. My parents separated when I was eight and later divorced and my Mom raised us. Life could be rough, but not unlike that of many other children and their parents both then and now. The Jaycees and Lions Club were helpful and hopeful for our family, as was public assistance (food stamps and Medicaid). And for as corny and stereotypical as it may sound, there were lots of days with only tortillas and beans and rice for meals (fortunately, my Mom made the best tortillas I've ever eaten).
My sibs and I attended Van Dyke Public Schools and later Clintondale schools in Clinton Township. My first paid job was at the age of twelve for our school district, through the Youth Employment Services (YES!) program, and I continued working for the schools through graduation. I played basketball from elementary school through high school, and ran on the boys track team in high school -- Thank You Title IX.
After graduation, I lived in Detroit's Cass Corridor and attended Wayne State University, receiving a Bachelor's degree in fine arts. Afterward, I worked for Detroit Public Television as a Community Relations Coordinator.
I moved to Brooklyn, New York, and lived there for 13 years -- working at New York University and also graduating from there with a Master's degree in Studio Arts. Upon returning to Michigan, I worked briefly (and again) at Detroit Public TV, later at Focus: HOPE, and at Casa de Unidad in southwest Detroit as Executive Director. During this time, I married my longtime friend, who I met when we were both living in East English Village, Alex Rogowski, jazz guitarist and RPh (pharmacist, retired from St. John Hospital; Alex lived on Kensington at Warren for 20 years, and I lived on Courville at Mack and previously on Chandler Park at Chalmers).
Alex and I moved to Harper Woods, where I later served on Harper Woods Library Board and Recreation Advisory Board. I was appointed and later elected to City Council in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. I was recently appointed to our Ordinance Committee and Beautification Commission. I am a member of the Michigan Municipal League's legislative Municipal Services Committee and Elections Sub-Committee, and the Michigan Women in Municipal Government. I am an unofficial Council liaison to the Police K-9 Program fundraising committee. And last, but certainly not least: I am an Executive Board member of the Michigan Democratic Party Hispanic Latino Caucus, I’m very community minded and seriously enjoy representing my community on Council. I am interested in all things legislative, a dog lover (big on greyhounds), a lover of all things arts and culture, a certified Master Gardener, and an advocate of equity and justice in all forms and situations.