Denise "Mitzi" Epstein

We need more collaboration.  

But it’s not easy. Collaboration takes the will and the skill to do it. Good laws are made with input from all the stakeholders. The people affected by a law should be included in developing it.  

As your state representative, I have established a stakeholder group called the “Neighbors Council” to develop solutions to problems collaboratively. Very purposefully, I reach out to people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, ages, races and, yes, different political parties to bring together many perspectives.

It’s not easy; it takes patience, experience and skill. My business background in computer systems has been extremely helpful to me in collaborating with legislators in the state House of Representatives and in the various community volunteer projects I’ve completed.

When I write code for a new computer system, I have to be sure it will work with all the other systems. That requires careful attention to technical and analytical details.

The system also has to be user-friendly, and that requires careful attention to human nature. As a computer systems analyst at Citicorp Mortgage and Olin Brass, I learned many skills in collaboration.  

I put them to use in achieving several successes in the state House and I’ve worked collaboratively with many of you to support our community.   

My roots are here. I have been listening to you for over 20 years.  

When coaching youth soccer, I was often the last person off the field because I had a lot of listening to do. As the coach administrator for AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) Region 1046 several years ago, I listened to the ideas of the parents of the children on the teams and worked with them to make it happen.   

As a PTO/PTA president, I listened to parents’ and teachers’ hopes and expectations, and we worked together to make school even better for students. The purpose of the Arts Council for Youth was to encourage students to take classes in music and all the arts from kindergarten through college.  

Art makes our lives better. The “Arts Jam” was a festival we sponsored that brought families and the whole community together.  

I still find the best outreach is to meet you where you are. As your state representative, I have met folks in the community at coffee shops, libraries, and bookstores to discuss issues, including small-business challenges, water and drought, better jobs, rent and security deposits and, of course, education.

In the next several weeks, as I’ve done in the past, I’ll be across the street from your local school holding my sign and waving a friendly “Hello!”

If you see me out on the sidewalk, stop and chat! I want to hear how things are working for you in the school, in the community and in the state.

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