On June 28, 2019, Samantha’s uncle died of kidney failure with no health insurance and no life insurance. Her family soon set up a GoFundMe page, the search was on for the title to his car and her aunts explored the possibility of taking out a loan to cover the costs. All her cousins shared the page, everyone gave condolences and shared their favorite memories of him and anxiously refreshed the link to see how close they were to the goal.
But the sad reality of the situation is that his story is not unique.
Healthcare in the United States has come down to insurance people can’t afford to use and ads printed on the back of vans for kidney donors. This scenario became clear to Samantha at an early age when her mother, who was already working two jobs to support the family, was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was then that Samantha dove head first into public service with the Dunbar Junior High Student Council to distract her from the facts.
It was there that she learned she was not alone in her struggles, that people appreciate even the tiniest deeds in times of need and that work ethic continued its path the rest of her life. She volunteered in several organizations during high school and college, her humble job background has exhibited her ability to go the extra mile for people and when she moved back to Lubbock, Texas in 2012 and saw nothing had changed, she got involved in politics to figure out how those changes could be made.
The elections of 2016, however, were a pivotal moment for her journey. She got involved in the Bernie Sanders campaign and when he lost, she stuck around with several organizations within the Lubbock County Democratic Party where her leadership skills were seen and highlighted by the mentors around her. And in 2018, when no one else was willing to stick out their neck in the year of the Blue Wave, Samantha was approached by several people to run for House District 84 as the incumbent was about the walk into his fourth term unchallenged once again. She accepted the challenge and while the outsider would see it as a loss, she moved the needle and received 39.8% of the vote with traditional door-knocking, phone-calling, postcard-writing and meeting people where they are-because she was one there too.
Samantha was born and raised in Lubbock and can easily tell you where the original Tommy’s Burgers was located, how many of her cousins worked at Joyland and how she made the honor roll every year at Dupre Elementary, but she can also tell you life in Lubbock, especially as a little brown girl from the East Side, was not easy. And it’s still not. So she’s back for the 2020 elections and she’s ready to finish the job she started for all the people in House District 84 who struggle the same way her family did.