I’m a career public servant, FCCPS parent, daughter, sister, wife, and mom. I went to law school to make a difference in people's everyday lives. I work hard, study the issues, pay attention to the interests in play, and consider not only the specific decision at hand but the broader effects of any given approach.
I believe in listening, working together, and being a generous and supportive colleague. I also believe in accountability and ensuring the City responds to community concerns and exercises sound judgment that benefits City residents and ensures the success of our community, local businesses, and schools.
I grew up in a New York suburb roughly the size of Falls Church, in a community that valued public service, strong schools, and community spirit. My parents are immigrants from Ireland. My dad was a union carpenter who framed subway tunnels before starting a successful home renovation business. My mom worked at the Pan Am Building, in the airline's reservations department, before leaving her job to manage my dad’s business and take care of my older brother and me.
Growing up, I cheered for the Mets, played youth sports, and was a competitive Irish dancer.
When I was in eighth grade, however, my brother was diagnosed with cancer, and our family life became focused on supporting him during his 18-month treatment and recovery. I experienced the importance of a strong and caring community – I stayed with neighbors when my parents traded shifts at the hospital, caught rides to and from practice with friends, and our public school teachers stopped by on lunch breaks and after school to drop off lessons for my brother in anticipation of his return to school. My brother went on to become an accomplished physician. The experience led me to better appreciate the many hardships people face in their daily lives and to seek to address socioeconomic and structural barriers that only compound those hardships.
I was awarded a scholarship to Yale, where I majored in psychology and focused on the needs of children and teens. I spent three years after graduation as a paralegal at The Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice in The Bronx. I worked with attorneys and social workers to provide direct representation to children who were the subject of neglect, abuse, and juvenile delinquency proceedings. I met with kids each day to assess their safety and well-being and to gather information to effectively advocate for their needs. The experience taught me the importance of listening, the benefit of asking questions instead of assuming answers, and the power of the law to effect change.
My career in public interest law
Based on my commitment to public service, I received a scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After graduating, I worked for federal trial and appellate judges before joining the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010.
My job involves representing the United States in civil rights cases in the federal courts of appeals, helping to obtain and defend decisions that protect the rights of all members of our society. I work across subject matter areas, both civil and criminal, on a wide range of issues, including voting rights, equal educational opportunities, disability rights, fair housing, hate crimes, human trafficking, and police misconduct. I'm familiar with the decisions and challenges States and localities face, and I believe strongly in good governance and examining an issue from all sides.
As an attorney manager and supervisor, I also understand the importance of ensuring organizations succeed in their mission. I'm regularly involved in hiring and staffing decisions and also have worked to maintain employee morale across administration changes, government shutdowns, and a pandemic. I bring a depth of experience that will allow me to contribute to the work of the City Council.
How I came to Falls Church
I first came to Falls Church to see the Legwarmers at the State Theatre. But I came back regularly as of 2012 thanks to my husband, Charlie Lord, who grew up here and attended City schools from second through twelfth grades. My in-laws still live in Charlie's childhood home. Charlie is also a career public servant – he first worked as a public defender in South Florida and The Bronx, then as a trial and appellate attorney in the Labor Department focused on mine safety and whistleblower protections, and now as a federal prosecutor specializing in workplace safety and environmental crimes.
Charlie and I lived in Adams Morgan and Northeast D.C. before moving to Falls Church with our son a few years ago. We love Falls Church for its many community programs, small-town feel, and walkable, green streets. Our son went to preschool at Dulin and now goes to Mount Daniel. He is a regular consumer of Rec & Parks programs and an enthusiastic patron of the library and the Doodlehopper. We are active in VPIS and regularly volunteer in our son's classroom.
As I’ve launched this campaign to serve on City Council, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to meet many more City residents, all of whom I would be privileged to serve.