I’m a Democrat because I learned that, despite what I was taught growing up in my conservative Republican family, every American child doesn’t start on a level playing field in our country. Some of us, including myself, start out with significant advantages.

After going to a private Christian school throughout my elementary and secondary education, I chose to go to Temple University to broaden my horizons and change my perspective. I met people who were different than me in every way possible – different races, religions, economic backgrounds, and different parts of the country. We were all at the exact same point in our lives, same school, same age, same place, but so many of my friends had surpassed far more significant barriers to get there.

These experiences led me to become a Democrat, something that more than 40,000 Pennsylvanians chose to do in 2016 alone because, like me, their view of the world changed. At some point in our lives, reality confronted our beliefs, so we transformed. I’m proud of the work that went into building my new values. And even more than my partisan association, it was my understanding of the role of our government that changed and developed – that it should work to level the playing field and improve opportunities for all Americans.

My work with survivors of domestic violence and prosecuting sexual assault in the Navy only solidified my change in beliefs. How could I support my survivors, if I didn’t believe they should have access to quality affordable healthcare for themselves and their children when they made the brave decision to leave their abusers? How could I fight for women who faced assault, without also supporting their right to be heard without threat or prejudice? How could I look at my new born son and not support strong public schools for all of our children, schools that are safe from the epidemic of gun violence in our country? How could I raise my family in beautiful Bucks County and not fight for clean air and clean water for my children and grandchildren?

I couldn’t.

So, after Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss in 2016 – a campaign I volunteered for – I decided to leave active-duty service, to fight back any way I could. To fight for a nation where good people refuse to allow Donald Trump’s voice to be the loudest in our children’s lives. To fight for a level playing field for all Americans. To continue fighting for the Country I signed up to serve.

That is why I am a Democrat. That is why I want to represent you in Congress. I hope to earn your support.