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Hi, I'm Denise!


My roots come from middle America within a working-class family, which imparted significant values:  a strong work ethic, the sense of community responsibility, a charitable mindset, fiscal conservatism, fierce patriotism, and the inclusive embrace of diversity within our social network.  Growing up, my father was a small-town pastor and a parole officer at the federal penitentiary, while my mother balanced roles as a homemaker, pastor's wife, and paid positions as an aide in nursing homes or as a bookkeeper.   

Our family resources were thin sometimes, so we relied on a half-acre garden for sustenance during my entire childhood, which was quite labor-intensive for all of us.  My father was famous for his red tomatoes, but figured out he could grow yellow ones with less acid content for folks in the nursing home, where we often went on Sunday afternoons to provide residents a church service.  In the family, our needs were met, but luxuries and wishes were rarely obtained.  I swear we were the last Americans to get a television and a dishwasher, and with a family of 6, that was a ton of dishes to wash by hand.  Money for a car, college, room and board, and living expenses was scarce, so I worked from 15 years of age onward to pay for what I needed. 


Somehow, I always believed that if I worked hard and utilized opportunities, I could make my future be what I wanted.  Indeed, that is what happened.  I put myself through undergraduate and graduate school so I could fulfill my dream of becoming a psychologist.  My strongest motivation came from my family's core values that placed a premium on centering on others rather than oneself and offering assistance to those in need.   Plus, I love words, concepts, and people (who are endlessly fascinating to me), so psychology has suited my skills, values, and interests.  Indeed, I would be a psychologist even if I won the lottery and did not need an income!  


My core belief in the rightness of public service has carried me through my endeavors as a psychologist and now has led me to run for this office in order to try to help a broader scope of people.  I spent the first 8 years of my profession working in non-profit settings, wherein we served people of all income levels, ethnicities, and family structures.  After entering private practice closer to home so I could be with my young children more, I continued to embody that "service for all" mentality by keeping my fees lower than average, offering sliding fees and pro bono services as needed, and being on numerous insurance panels (including military, Medicaid, and Medicare) to ensure access to quality care.  With reluctance, I had to give up most of the insurance companies over time, as I often lost money and did not have enough income for my family and staff.  Nevertheless, I have continued to maintain less than usual rates, with the flexibility to lower fees if needed.

In running for the office of state representative for HD 63, my mission remains the same as in my clinical practice:  serve the needs of as many people as possible, not just the wealthy and powerful, through affecting legislation in Texas.  Further, I believe in equipping people--with opportunities for good health care, skill development, and resources to become more independent and functional.  For this reason, my favorite local charity is Christian Community Action, as they aspire to "teach people to fish instead of just giving them fish."  There may be some individuals who cannot "learn to fish", for a variety of reasons, and those we are ethically obligated to fully support.  But, for those with the capacity to learn and grow, let's provide them with the health, educational, and employment opportunities to equip them to become more productive citizens.  In taking this ethical stance, we benefit not only those individuals, but strengthen the entire community.



A fair and even playing field --isn't that what we all want for ourselves and our loved ones?  We should guarantee all Texans the same rights and chances for health, growth, education, career options, and livability.  Let's make that happen, together!

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