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Rachel's Story


My interest in criminal justice reform, health care policy, and economic justice began in high school with my work at a local in-patient drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility for women and families. There, I began to see how poverty, gender, race, and access to medical care intersect to limit the opportunities of society’s most vulnerable members. I continued to work directly with clients through a Family Treatment Court in San Francisco, CA, but after completing extensive academic study of the opioid epidemic, and drug policy more broadly, I felt called to serve at the heart of the issue. I found my way to West Virginia’s southern coalfields in 2017, and as I continued to grapple with the region’s economic fragility and complicated history, I fell in love with the community that hosted me for this transformative summer. I returned to work with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy the following summer, and as I honed my analytical and technical skills, I remained connected to members of the community which had both challenged and welcomed me. I hope to bring a deep humility to public service, one informed both by my experiences working directly with community members as well as the history of the community I serve.