My name is Jennifer Skidonenko, and I am the Democratic nominee for state House representative for House District 106. My husband and I have two boys, AJ and Lex, a German shepherd named Gretchen and a spunky cat named Rocky. We love being a part of the second-fastest growing district in Texas. Both of our sons are products of Denton ISD, as well: AJ graduated high school in 2019 and is now in basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, with the U.S. Army, and Lex is loving life in kindergarten.

For the past three years or so, I have been working in the community to encourage people to vote and get involved. After the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I founded the Denton County Moms Demand Action group to bring the gun violence prevention movement to our community. Later, I became the regional deputy lead for the DFW-area groups.

As a gun owner who was raised in the gun culture, I felt it was necessary to add my voice to this issue because the onus is on us to not only ensure we are being responsible but that others are as well. It was unnerving that the NRA was posturing as a voice for gun owners when the majority of us favor reasonable restrictions on who should be allowed to possess guns.

Between my work with Moms Demand Action, and my volunteer work as an organizer for Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign, I learned that my community was far more diverse than I had imagined, and that they shared my concerns about public safety, health care and our public education system in Texas. But they don’t have a representative taking their concerns seriously. Special interests, extreme ideology and groups like Empower Texans work through several seats in the Texas Legislature, and HD 106 is one of them.

Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country. We’re 42nd in spending per student in public education. The minimum wage is not livable and costs taxpayers more money because we’re subsidizing those who depend on government assistance programs to make ends meet. Meanwhile, our property taxes are skyrocketing, and large corporations are getting tax breaks.

I’m running to make sure our families are safe, healthy and educated. I’m running to make sure we take care of all Texans, not just those who donate the most to our elected officials. I’m running a grassroots campaign, not as a politician but as a mother and a citizen who wants to get things done in Austin, to better the lives of Texans.

Whether you’re Democrat, Republican or independent, if you’re tired of the extremism in our state government, you’re welcome in our campaign.

JENNIFER SKIDONENKO is running for state representative, District 106, in the March 3 Democratic primary.

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