I was born in California in 1963 but mostly grew up in Arizona. My three sisters and I grew up with a mentally ill mother, who often suffered debilitating symptoms that were poorly addressed by her own family as well as the web of social services around her. We daughters grew up strong and independent -- acutely aware of the drama of human need, the power of self-reliance, and the value of a helping hand or social safety net for those held down by grim circumstances. My passion for social justice and equity arises from my earliest childhood experiences with my mother, who loved her children fiercely despite her mental illness. I gained an appreciation for the power of public institutions to assist the most vulnerable, and a sense of the value of government to when it comes to achieving for the common good.
In 1994, I graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in History. From there, I moved to Michigan where I graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1997 with a J.D. in Law. For the past 20 years, I have practiced immigration law in Arizona, Washington state and now Minnesota. My career in law has included working with corporations bringing professionals to the U.S. from around the world as well as working with individuals and families seeking family ties or just freedom. My law practice has given me further insight into the complexities of our country as a nation of immigrants, and respect for the difficulties in achieving equity and justice among disparate groups of people.
In 2014, I moved from Washington state to Minnesota with my wife, Jenifer McGuire, and our daughter, Mia. We settled in St. Anthony, close to Jenifer’s job at the University of Minnesota as an associate professor in the Department of Family Social Sciences. Mia, who is now a 7th grader at St. Anthony Middle School, loves being involved in our community, including swim club at the St. Anthony pool, her school friends, and her neighbor friends up and down the block. I also have three adult children, two of whom live in Minnesota. And earlier this year, I became a grandma to my granddaughter, Kaylee.
I strongly believe in civic engagement and volunteering where I live. From 1998 to 2001 I was a board member of my homeowners association in Tucson, Arizona. In 2006, I was named an “Extraordinary Citizen” by the City of Tucson for my work on the Tucson Commission on LGBT Issues. After moving to Washington State, from 2009 to 2012, I was a board member and board president of the Montessori School of Pullman, WA. From 2010 to 2014 I was a board member and board president of Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, a domestic violence prevention organization in Washington state. I have also contributed numerous hours as a volunteer attorney focusing on immigration law clinics in the Seattle area. I continue to practice immigration law here in Minnesota.
Since moving to St. Anthony, my desire to be involved in the community hasn’t lessened. I was a founding member of St. Anthony Villagers for Community Action (SAVCA), a grassroots group of Villagers that formed in the days following the death of Philando Castile. I was also a member of SAVCA’s Police Advisory Committee (PAC), a group that has been instrumental in pushing for greater citizen oversight of and transparency from the St. Anthony Police Department. With SAVCA’s help, the PAC was able to guide our mayor and city council to engage in a significant reform audit of our police department, leading directly to a voluntary review by the U.S. Department of Justice.
I’ve also been a strong advocate for the residents of Lowry Grove, a mobile home park in St. Anthony. With SAVCA’s support, I actively backed the residents in their quest to save the park from closure and ultimate redevelopment. Though this goal was not achieved, I have continued to raise awareness around the loss of affordable housing that occurred when the park closed in June 2017.
In my free time, I enjoy camping and hiking (my older daughter, Karen, and I hiked 8 days of the Appalachian Trail in 2015; hiking the Trail again from Georgia to Maine is on my bucket list!) as well as traveling off the beaten trail, especially in the south of France. I make homemade soaps (with some seriously nice oils!) and dabble in DIY home remodeling (with great respect for the value of real plumbers and electricians).