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          A common social icebreaker is “what is one word you would use to describe yourself?” and my answer is “unconventional.” My twin brother and I were born on November 30 of 2000, three months earlier than we were supposed to be. As I stayed at Harrisburg Hospital, my brother, DeKota, was flown to Hershey Hospital for surgery, just minutes after being born. Because we were born early and my brother’s unexpected medical expenses consumed my parents’ funds, we were forced by circumstance into living in a very small apartment in Mechanicsburg, where I shared a room with my brother for seventeen years. Things that were typical in the lives of other kids had made no sense to me, and things that were everyday occurrences for me were foreign concepts for the other kids. For the first five years of our lives, my brother and I were raised on my grandparents’ farm in Newville, while our parents tirelessly worked full-time to support our family. Over the years, I’ve learned to care for my brother’s disabilities (hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, blindness, immobility, and nonverbality), and it is now my current occupation; although I also worked five years for the world’s largest retail corporation (forgive me for not name-dropping them, but I think we both know who I’m talking about).

          Like plenty of other people recently joining the world of politics, my interest in the field sprouted in 2016, during the most heated election in modern history (although it may have dropped to second or third by now). I was just sixteen at the time, and in my second year of high school at Cumberland Valley. After graduating in 2018, although I was in the class of 2019, I dipped my foot into the political waters by volunteering as a poll worker, a bi-annual and fourteen-hour commitment that made me recognize and appreciate the security and depth of our elections. I was a poll worker for a couple of election cycles before I eventually ran for the position of Judge of Elections for Middlesex I (the person who plans and controls the center you vote at on election days). I’ve also lent my passion as an electric violinist and songwriter to local political candidates and events, having performed at a rally for Sara Agerton and John Fetterman, as well as playing for the Cumberland County Democratic Committee’s stand at Jubilee Day. Now 23 and living in Carlisle since 2018, I’m ready to carve A New Path Forward for myself, the 199th district, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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