As an immigrant to this country at the age of 12, I know how it feels to be marginalized.
Becoming a single mother at 19, I know what it’s like struggling to make ends meet. Serving our community for 20 years and working for people whose shoes I’ve walked in, I understand the real and systemic barriers to opportunity.
And today, opportunity is in front of me – and the way I see it, for all of us – as I’m running to be your state representative because we need more people with lived experiences working to solve these issues. When we bring more voices like you and me to the table, we have more of an opportunity to effect change.
Grandmother Enid helped raise Andrea and taught her important life values.
The values I learned growing up
I was born prematurely in British Guyana, weighing only two pounds. Even in the impoverished nation of Guyana and without an incubator, I survived and don’t take the gift of life for granted. I was raised by my grandparents and aunt, who sacrificed a great deal for my brother and me to have a good life. They taught us the values of service to others, respecting people’s differences, and following through on what you say.
Immigrating to the U.S. at 12 was quite a culture shock. For the first time, I learned what it meant to be Black, to have an accent, to be poor, to be marginalized. Fortunately, I relied on the strengths my grandparents instilled in me, and found a community in track and field and hip hop dance. I also had several supportive teachers who expected more from me.
Motivated to work in public service, I enrolled at Evergreen State College after high school. In my second year, I got pregnant and found myself struggling to navigate the social safety net. I discovered newfound respect for the efforts of my mother and so many parents who struggle to make ends meet. I also felt deep disappointment at how difficult it is to access basic necessities. This experience emboldened my commitment to do more for our community.
Andrea celebrates with her friends graduating from The Evergreen State College.
Serving our community
Through an internship at the Washington State Legislature, I worked with the House Children and Family Services Committee, and learned the ins and outs of our social safety net – where it fails and how it can be better. I went on to work as a legislative aide for Rep. Dawn Mason of the 37th district, and in the governor’s office as a legislative liaison for the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs.
All of this helped prepare me for my next role as chief operations officer, and eventually chief executive officer of Byrd Barr Place (formerly CAMP). I am incredibly honored to work for this organization, which has a deep legacy of tackling problems that exist at the intersection of racism and poverty. At Byrd Barr Place, I lead programs and services for 18,000 households in our district that propel people’s health and well-being. I also work to bring people, organizations, and businesses together around issues affecting our community, such as economic development and affordable housing.
I’ve helped nurture a community of practice among African American-serving organizations to learn together and take collective action to address specific challenges and opportunities for African Americans in King County and Washington state. I also serve on the boards of Crescent Collaborative and Africatown Community Land Trust, and as a commissioner on the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs.
Andrea, alongside Senator Rebeca Saldaña and Kevin Dawson, commemorate the groundbreaking for the Liberty Bank Building in the Central District.
Creating opportunity for all of us
Your home is my home. I’ve lived and worked in the 37th district for more than 20 years. Today I live in Skyway with my husband and two children, and work in the Central District. I care deeply about this place and the people who live here. And see the opportunity to make it a better place for all of us – for our children, the elderly, local businesses, frontline workers, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ people, persons with disabilities, and people of all races, ethnicities, faiths, and creeds.
I believe to create a 37th district that works for everyone, we must put the well-being of people first – from our response and recovery to the COVID-19 crisis to deciding our state budgets. I will champion quality healthcare for all, fully funding education, investing in our local economy, building family economic security, expanding affordable housing and home ownership opportunity, tackling the unequal impacts of environmental pollution, and taking bold climate action.
As your state representative, I’m committed to showing up every day, listening intently, and working for our home, our hopes, and our common stories. I am a constructive collaborator. I know how to work across and through differences. You can think of me as a bridge builder, bringing together varying perspectives to accomplish what we all want to see in our community.
With your support and my leadership, we can ensure everyone in our district has the opportunity, resources, and services to live in a just world.