I came to the United States (US) when I was 10. My family is Armenian. We lived in Baku, Azerbaijan. When I was 4, the country experienced a territorial and or religious upheaval. My family’s apartment was broken into, and we were given a choice. LEAVE AND LIVE OR STAY AND DIE. My family left with nothing but the clothes on our backs. My grandfather had two mismatching shoes. We, along with many other families, were loaded into a bus and dropped off at the railroad tracks. That is where we stayed for what seemed like weeks. We then boarded an airplane, dropped off in Moscow, and told to scatter. The families refused to leave the plane until the country gave us a home. They did, a rat-infested dirty hotel.
At that time, my father came back into the picture. My father and my mother were separated. I remember living with my mom’s side of the family. My father was working on paperwork to come to the US. It took him years to get approved. In 1994, we came to the US. I remember our first apartment at 923 S 9th St. My brother and I thought it was a mansion. We thought the door stoppers (the boingy ones) in our apartment were anti-theft devices. We did not have to worry about hot water limits. In Russia, hot water would run from 4 pm to 6 pm…that’s it. I remember my first phone number (402-438-4454).
Eleven months later, my father died in a car accident. Eleven months is what I remember of my father. So, I can say that I did not have a father figure for most of my childhood life. I pressed on. I remember going to Everett Elementary. I vividly recall my teachers: Mrs. Cherry and Mrs. Maestas (4th-grade ESL), Mrs. Butzke (4th-grade homeroom), Mrs. Lybarger (5th-grade homeroom), and Mrs. Shelton (5th-grade math teacher). I also recall the principal, Mr. Zimmerman. I remember being told that we would be making and eating dirt cake. I was scared. I later found out it was chocolate pudding. I knew ZERO English. I remember Karina Nersesova being my translator for a bit. Then, she left. We just recently reconnected. It is incredible how things work out.
I continued with school and landed at Lincoln Christian. I graduated as a salutatorian of my class in 2002. Penne (Miss Penne) and John Hanus (Uncle John)…don’t ask…have a special place in my heart as they were my family’s rock! I consider them to be parental figures. This is where I found my faith. Notice I said FAITH and not religion. Those are two different things. I am a believer. I walk the walk, talk the talk, and do the deed. I love all the same. I am open to conversations. I am open to sharing my point of view. I will accept you for you. I am not the JUDGE and will not judge you for your decisions. I will respect you, and in turn, expect the same respect in return. A lot of my views on topics stem from my faith. They stem from what I believe, what I believe I am being called to as a child of God. I am not out of touch with what’s going on.
Needless to say, I know what it’s like being the poorest of the poor. I know the struggle. I have never been liked by people my age. Linda Slykhuis, my high school math teacher and dear friend who was also like a mother figure to me, always told me I was too mature for my age. I am an old soul. I believe in truth. I believe in transparency. Those two traits have become platforms for my campaign.
Since high school, I have graduated from UNL with a BA in Psychology, the University of Phoenix with an MS in psychology, and obtained a Ph.D. from Northcentral University. I am the first in my family to earn a Ph.D. I am an educator at Southeast Community College. I am a tutor, mentor, advocate for all things education. I have my own editing business. I am a Senior Certified Pharmacy Technician at Walgreens. I am a wife to an amazing man, Matthew Newman, who has been my rock. I am also a mother to an amazing daughter. For fun, when I have time (HA), I dance. My husband and I are ballroom dance partners. I love dancing through life with him. I am busy, but I would not have it any other way.
Now then, politics. I have never been interested in politics until 2020. Now, more than ever, things look incredibly similar to what my family fled years ago. Truth and transparency, mentioned previously, are my platforms. I am not in this for money as I believe money is the problem with and in politics in the first place. I am an independent candidate as I think both parties have failed the American people.
Why am I a perfect candidate for the Lincoln City Council? I have FIVE reasons:
- I am an immigrant from a communist country. That means that I have experienced, first hand, what it is like to have nothing and to work my way up to the top. I know what it is like to have the government own everything. I know what it is like to live on food rations. My mother always told me stories of how my grandfather would stand in line early in the morning to make sure we had bread. I remember hot water being on from 4 pm to 6 pm. I remember my mom boiling water to give me and my brother baths and then emptying the tub, bucket by bucket, and carrying down flights of stairs to dispose of it. I grew up in a country with no police. I was forced out of a country where police were non-existent. Let me tell you. It’s not pretty!
- I am an educator. That has been my one and only mission in life. I want to educate people: the good, the bad, the ugly. My goal is to give you information, ALL INFORMATION. Then, you decide what’s best for you and your unique circumstance.
- I am a healthcare worker. I have been in healthcare for 17 years. When I was very young, I witnessed my first surgery at my aunt’s hospital in Kaluga, Russia. I wandered out of her “office” and accidentally walked into a surgery. Healthcare is one of my passions and is the MOST FUNDAMENTAL right that you have as an individual. NO ONE should be making healthcare decisions for you. You need to be INFORMED on every issue as it pertains to the treatment you receive. I am not a doctor, no, but as a healthcare professional, I have taken an oath as well, an oath to educate, protect, and not harm.
- I am a small business owner. I am fortunate enough that my business can be carried on from my home, but I know many people do not have that luxury. I know the grind. I know the hard work that it takes to run a successful business and how quickly that all can shatter.
- I have my conceal-and-carry permit. I have been through the class. I have been educated on the registry in place now (no need to change it, in my opinion) and what a prospective registry would look like.
I AM the definition of fierce when it comes to ambition and goals. Once I put my mind to something, I will give it all I got. I will do my best for you and your family. THAT IS A PROMISE THAT YOU CAN COUNT ON!