The interesting thing about growing up in Virginia is that we have elections every year, and sometimes more if there is a primary or special election. Election Day was always exciting at our house. When I was young, my mom or dad would take me with them to press the VOTE button. During Presidential elections, we took maps of the U.S. and used red and blue pencils to color in the states. It was one of the few nights we were allowed to stay up late. As I got older, my dad would take Election Day off and the two of us would hand out sample ballots at our local polling place and say “thank you for voting.” In 2002, a family friend decided to run for the local school board seat, and my dad jumped on board as her campaign treasurer. He joined the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, and got even more involved in politics.
This was my stepping stone to working in politics and becoming a political activist. After I came out in 2006, I became invested in LGBT politics. I had some campaign experience from working with my dad on campaigns, simply handing out literature and making phone calls. In 2011, my dad ran for the FCPS School Board and won. That same summer, he put me in touch with an openly gay man who was currently a state Delegate but was running in a democratic primary for the state Senate in a very liberal area just outside of DC. I volunteered every day from May until August, shredding papers, making phone calls, making recruiting calls, reminding people to vote, putting out yard signs, and canvassing. I worked so hard that eventually, they promoted me from volunteer to Field Organizer. Adam later told my mom “I don’t think I would have won if it weren’t for Kat.” Since 2002 I have worked on many campaigns for school board candidates, state delegates, and state senators. Easily, my favorite campaigns to work on are for LGBT rights or candidates, but the most important thing is that I feel like I am changing Virginia for the better.