Tag Archives: tennessee

Insider: What It’s Like to Campaign for Deidre Malone and Why You Should Vote for Her

A few days ago I finally had the chance to get more involved in Deidre Malone’s campaign for Shelby County mayor. I’ve been a supporter since the beginning, and I’ve been talking about her all over social media for a long time. But being actively plugged in to a campaign is always different, and plugging in to hers has only made me more confident in Deidre herself.

In case you don’t already know, I started working on election campaigns when I was 12. I’ve worked on behalf of so many candidates (and bills and amendments) that I would probably forget half of them if I tried to give you a list. It seems like I always campaigned for someone (or something) based on the alternative. For instance, I might have campaigned for candidate A because the thought of candidate B being elected was so scary that I felt compelled to prevent it from happening. That’s where Deidre Malone differs the most from the others.

I wholeheartedly believe re-electing Mark Luttrell is a mistake Shelby County doesn’t need to make. I wholeheartedly believe that Deidre is the more qualified and knowledgeable candidate. I believe in her platform, in the changes she wants to make and in her ability to make it all happen. But more than that, I believe in Deidre Malone.

Today’s average political candidate desires nothing more than a paycheck and, unfortunately, only fills office space while collecting it more often than not because most modern candidates are career politicians. Then you have the extremely rare people like Deidre, who are just regular folks with the desire to be the change they wish to see in the communities that surround them.

There is a certain calmness in her that I’ve never seen in a candidate less than two weeks out from an election. She’s grounded, genuine, human. Her campaign headquarters, located inside her public relations firm on Madison, is a cheerful, friendly place.

Inside those walls, what you see isn’t the typical campaign slabor. Deidre has created a campaign environment that nurtures young campaign workers. Running for office has always been on my “maybe” list for the future, but after this week, I’m claiming it as an official “to-do.” If you ask any millennial in the building about running for office one day, chances are he or she will answer affirmatively. The few who don’t want to run plan to work on campaigns behind the scenes. Deidre is responsible for that.

She’s the candidate who gives hugs and offers kind, encouraging words to everyone around her. She’s the candidate who will make fully funding education a top priority and bring good jobs to the areas of the county that need them the most. She’s the candidate who will help small businesses, expand healthcare services and do whatever it takes to make Shelby County great. She’s the candidate who is mentoring the leaders of tomorrow, who sees value in all people and who has a heart for the job. She’s the candidate who means it when she says, “Hi, I’m Deidre Malone, and I’m running for Shelby County mayor because I want to make Shelby County a great place to live today, tomorrow and for our future.”

Vote for Deidre Malone for Shelby County mayor because she’s the candidate we need.

#MaloneForMayor

#MaloneForMayor

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Finding my father: I’m closer than ever

Those of you who know me on a more personal level know that I have never met my biological father. I don’t even know his name. In fact, I’ve never known anything about him, except that, judging by my complexion, he is a white guy. I’ve spent my entire life wondering about him. At times, I have painfully agonized over not knowing any of the details about where or who I came from. It has been a struggle, because nearly everyone I’ve known has taken those basic privileges for granted. It would mean everything to me to know my dad’s name or even just general traits like his height or hair and eye color. 

Several months ago, I took a DNA test from AncestryDNA. It enabled me to see a layout of my entire ethnic background, which was an unbelievable gift. I secretly hoped it would lead to the discovery of my father, but I knew I probably had a better chance of winning the lottery. My DNA matches began rolling in, starting with about 250 4th-6th cousins who each shared 96% of my DNA.

Because I haven’t purchased a full-fledged membership, I don’t have the ability to initiate contact with other members. However, I can reply. When my most recent match, a third cousin who shares 98% of my DNA, popped up today, I received a message from her. This was the first contact I have ever had from a paternal relative, and I already love my “new” cousin, Cora.

Cora has been doing research about her genealogy since two years before I was born, and she messaged me to talk about our shared lineage. We ended up emailing back and forth a couple of times, and once I shared my lack-of-information story with her, she decided to call the phone number listed in my email signature (my cell).

Today I actually had a verbal conversation with someone related to my dad, and it was so amazing that it was hard for me not to cry right there in the middle of it. I pushed through, but I can’t stop the waterworks now.

My cousin, Cora, (I just love saying that!) shared a lot of her work with me, and while I’m still a very long way away from finding my father, I have a beginning. And more importantly, I know about where I came from!

Our great-great-great grandfather’s name was John Pierce. His wife, Nancy, gave birth to six children, including our great-great grandfather, William. His wife, Mary Ann, came from a long line of very wealthy plantation owners in Kentucky and Virginia. This wasn’t something I was particularly thrilled to hear, but it wasn’t all that surprising. And to be honest, I loved hearing all of it, even this ugly portion. Farther back, Cora has traced us to the family that brought the Quaker religion to America from England. And by traced, I mean that she knows who was on the boat when it landed in colonial America, and she has the documentation to back it up. How amazing is that?! My family brought the Religious Society of Friends to America!

The paternal side of my family has always been very prolific. Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved kids. :)

Unfortunately, this means finding my father will prove to be even more difficult because of the large pool I’ll be narrowing down. But honestly, if I never find him, I can live contentedly knowing that I’m a Pierce, a McQueen, a Bedford and a Willis. This information has made so much of a difference, and I can’t even begin to process that all of this happened today.

I might still be in shock, but it’s a very thankful state of shock.

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