International Women’s Day/ERA Celebration
Minnesota State Capitol, March 8th, 2018

Did you know that there is not an Amendment that states specifically that women and men have equal rights?  Did you know that 94% of the population think we already have an Equal Rights Amendment? We, at ERA Minnesota, are working to make an Equal Rights Amendment a reality. 

Minnesota has been active in trying to get an Equal Rights Amendment passed since the 1970’s. Our state was one of the 35 (of the 38 needed) to ratify the amendment. Since then we have been active in encouraging states required to put an ERA on the national ballet and to add an Equal Rights Amendment into our own Minnesota Constitution.

2nd Annual “We Are All The Same” Sock Hop
Sunrise River Elementary School, North Branch, March 20th, 2018

I had the privilege of attending the “We Are All The Same”, second annual sock hop at Sunrise River Elementary School in North Branch tonight with my beloved nephew, Drake Swanson!

Drake was born 18 years ago, with Down Syndrome. He has worked hard his entire life to accomplish things most of us take for granted. He went into heart failure at 1 month old and had open heart surgery at 7 months old. He has struggled with health issues but despite those struggles he always manages to smile, laugh, and feel joy.

He believes the best in everyone and inspires me to be a better person, to recognize how fortunate I am to have the capabilities and opportunities life has allotted me.

Drake has come to Minnesota from California to work on my campaign. He has been organizing and manning my information table at conventions (sometimes playing Minecraft or watching tv when he’s bored!), lugging everything needed to stock the table to and from the car, setting up and breaking down and meeting community members and shaking their hands.

He has logged hundreds of miles as a passenger in my car in just a few short weeks- always giving a hug, smile or word of encouragement when he thinks that I might need it.

I am humbled and inspired by him and all of the wonderful kids with Down Syndrome I know. 

I will always defend the rights and protections of individuals with disabilities. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, to have support and the opportunity to contribute to society.

I want to thank the National Down Syndrome Society and Congress. They will always have a supporter and champion in me- as will any non-profit or group advocating on behalf of the disabled.