I’m a family law attorney, working in courts from Springvale to Millinocket. I’m also a nerd. I love to read proposed federal law. It’s a habit I picked up in college. A while ago I noticed that the bills being proposed down in D.C. really aren’t looking out for the interests of families. That’s not what I want for our country or for Maine. I want good law, thoughtful law, law that gives our children a good future. Don’t you? (Make sure to check out my bill reads on twitter)
I would really enjoy having a full time job where I get to dig through thousands of pages of proposed legislation each month. (Really, not a stitch of sarcasm) Let’s do this. Hire me to devote my work week to turn nonsense into common sense.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how I got here and who I am. I admit it – I’m from away…but I got here as quickly as I could! Here are answers to some of the most common questions.
I read in the paper you are from Oregon, did you grow up there?
I was born in Oregon (same as my mom). Before my 2nd birthday, my parents moved us to Oahu. By the time I started school we had moved to Washington State (where my dad was born). We moved 8 more times before I was in high school. My parents divorced. My dad died when I was 10. After that, we were really strapped until I was an adult. I started working at 11 with a paper route, babysitting, waitressing by 15 and working full time in the summers. High school was the longest I’d ever lived in one place and I wanted to be a part of a community. I was a Rainbow girl, DeMolay Sweetheart, on my high school dance team and in a bunch of clubs. I got my license on my 16th birthday and drove a 1976 Buick LeSabre that cost $500. It was the worst possible shade of brown.
That’s a lot of moving as a kid! What did you do once you headed out as an adult?
By 18, I worked at least one full time job and often more. My 4th move as an adult was into the first home I bought in 2002. I was invested in the community and had become a city official in the town I worked in, had moved to an apartment in years before, and loved. The town had an agriculture and tourism-based economy. I started my own business and was also on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce.
The news said you have 4 degrees – when did you get those?
I liked working, but I hadn’t graduated from high school, didn’t have a GED, and in 2004 it became clear I needed more education. I enrolled in community college at 27 and earned a 2-year business degree, then transferred to a state school for a 4-year degree and completed a BA in Business with a Human Rights minor. During this time I met and married my husband. In 2007, the economy was changing, clients were paying slowly, and all my friends who had 4-year degrees trying to find employment were finding it much harder, so I continued on to grad school.
Did you go to grad school in Washington too?
No. I knew I wouldn’t be successful in grad school with the amount of time I spent as a city official, running a business, and on the board of the chamber, so I chose a school out-of-state. My husband had become a merchant marine who could adventure anywhere. Off we moved to a new chapter of our life in Pennsylvania. I finished my first year of law school with two internships (one with a Judge, one with an attorney). The next school year I earned a Master’s in Business Administration, plus continued the two internships and still had some remaining work from my business. *whew*
How does Maine fit in?
After graduating from the business school, I was off to a summer job with a law firm in Maine helping folks with social security and disability issues. We discovered that we were expecting our oldest son and everything came to a screeching halt. It was time to re-evaluate what our lives should be like, and the answer was Maine. We’d loved it since the moment we arrived and wanted to raise our family here…without the moves and working 80+ hours per week.
What happened to the rest of law school?
We bought our home in 2010, close enough to walk to Maine Law (and Maine Med when I went into labor). Our car was old, and we weren’t sure if it would make it all the way through school. (It did!) Our oldest came along in 2011 and I was back in law school with a baby strapped to me less than 100 hours later. By the time I graduated from law school, we were expecting our youngest.
How did you end up self-employed again?
Finding childcare with two very young kids in tow was a nightmare and jobs for a new attorney paid about the same as childcare. Working for myself seemed like the best, if not the only, option.
Why are you still living in Portland?
The plan was for me to get established and then we’d move into our forever place. We didn’t want our boys bouncing around like we had as kids. We started looking. We settled in on Central and Western Maine pretty swiftly, which is where most of my work is now. Then, life happened. Being at sea was hard for my husband – he missed our boys, our boys missed him. I became the breadwinner while he stayed home with our rough and tumble crew. Being self-employed means a solid two years of full-time income to qualify for a home loan. Can we talk about health insurance? Holy cow, we were spending more on healthcare than our mortgage each month for healthcare we couldn’t use. We realized that moving wasn’t going to happen until my husband went back to work. In February of 2020, my husband started a new job. Then the pandemic hit. Like most Mainers, we’re not rich on much but love and got priced out of where we had settled on settling. With our problem-solving hats on we started to looking for a place to build; we had time and I’m handy like that.
Did you find a place?
Yes! We (finally) found our place in 2021. We landed on a bunch of dirt and trees on a little bit of a very small pond where our boys fish, swim, kayak, and ice skate in Sandy River Plantation, a tiny town with a handful of neighbors. The boys couldn’t be more excited and have been designing their rooms. We discovered a few sugar maples so we’ll even get to make our own house syrup. Though we plan to do most of the building ourselves – from as much repurposed, found, and foraged as we can – I couldn’t be more excited that I’ll have space for a real veggie garden…and we’ll finally be living in a home that has a second bathroom.
That’s the personal stuff – well, the most asked and interesting parts I could pull together for you. We’ve been married 17 years, 2 adventurous boys, 1 big floppy dog, and a cat that hates me. I’m not exciting, scandalous, or rich. I’m boring, a penny-pincher, and really love Maine. The thing that most gets caught in my jaw is one we all share; that the law I work with and we all live by is screwed up and no one is fixing it. That’s how we got here, to you reading this page.
Have more questions? Contact me.