When I was a babe in arms, and my mother pregnant with my brother Jason, we moved from Kansas City here to the Old Pueblo. Tucson is the only life I’ve ever known, yet the mountains still take my breath away at sunset.

My mother raised me to be bilingual. Not because she was — she is not — but because she thought I should be if I was going to study and work here in the Southern Arizona community.  

My family also instilled in us a lifetime of investment in where we live. My brother became a police officer and now runs a highly specialized, nonuniformed mental health team, and I went to law school to fight for the rights of the poor, to advocate for victims, and to help train and mentor the next generation of attorneys tasked with keeping our community safe and sound.  

I have been studying criminal justice policy since my undergraduate days. This is the perfect time to start implementing responsible and meaningful reform. We should choose treatment wisely, at a fraction of the cost, and use those valuable resources to start targeting criminals who harm our families and neighbors.  

I hope you will join me, and I hope you will share amongst your own communities this exciting opportunity for progress. Reform can’t happen without you.