I am a native Nashvillian born the oldest of five children who all attended Nashville public schools. I have three sisters and one brother who are either small business owners, teachers or administrative personnel. My father was a Metro police officer who established the Metro Youth Aid and Vice Squad divisions of the Metro Police Department and my mother is retired from the Metro Trustee’s office.
I am very lucky to have two great children, and a great daughter-in-law. My son, Ricky, is a teacher and coach in public school and his wife, Carrie, is a reading specialist in public school. My daughter, Summer, has a degree in social work and is currently working in the public school system. My granddaughter, Bailey, is 8 years old, beautiful and wise beyond her years. My grandson, Aidan, is a precious, fearless 4 year old boy. Since my political career began my family has been its backbone. Everyone in the family helps with the signs, phone calls and election day.
Political biographyI served as a Metro Nashville Council Member for eight years and during that time I also served as a member of the Metro Nashville Planning Commission. I have served seven terms in the General Assembly and I have been on committees that I feel seriously affect the lives of average working people, women, children, education and healthcare. I serve on Children and Family Affairs as committee Vice-Chair, Chair the Domestic Relations Committee, Member of Family Justice Committee, Health and Human Services Committee, Public Health Committee, Professional Occupations Committee, Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee, and am Chair of the Select Committee on Children and Youth.
I have served as the Davidson County Delegation Chair for two terms. I am a member of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women, Exchange Club Board Member, Nashville Women’s Political Caucus; Davidson County Democratic Women, and a volunteer for C.A.S.A. (Court appointed special advocates). I am a member of the Committee on Housing Solutions for Mental Health and Vice Chair of the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic Violence Board. I am also a Mom, Grandmama, and every once in a while I’ll plant a flower or listen to a book on CD in the car just to think about something that has nothing to do with anything important.
I have been fortunate to receive awards for my leadership in the General Assembly from:
- Legislator of the Year Namesake Award Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- United Way Leadership Award
- Mid Cumberland Council on Children and Youth
- Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association Outstanding Leadership Award
- Tennessee AFL-CIO Leadership Award
- Tennessee Citizen Action Leadership Award
- Tennessee March of Dimes Leadership Award
- Vanderbilt Law School Leadership Award
- TN Podiatric Medical Association Legislator of the Year Award
- TN Firefighters Legislator of the Year
- Nashville Firefighters Legislator of the Year
- Senior Citizens Leadership Award
- TN Alarm Association Legislator of the Year
- Outstanding Legislator, TN Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- TN Development District Association Leadership Award
- AARP Legislative Leadership Award
- TN Association of Social Workers Leadership Award
- Family and Children's Services Leadership Award
- Association of Retarded Citizens Outstanding Leadership Award
- Boy's & Girl's Club Leadership Award
- Mid Cumberland Council on Children & Youth Leadership Award
- TN Coalition Against Domestic Violence Outstanding Legislator
- TN Commission on Children & Youth Leadership Award
- Kinship Champion Award by the TN Dept. of Children's Services
- TN State Employees Leadership Award
- TN Conservation Voters Award