I’m in my mid-30s, and I’ve been going to coffee shops for the past decade.
In between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., I’ve picked up the equivalent of $100 in cigarettes and bought a bunch of soda.
It’s been an important part of my life.
When I went to college, I knew I wanted to go into politics, but I didn’t have the resources or ambition to try it.
I wanted a better life, and that’s where my campaign to change that came into focus.
I had a dream: I wanted the first female mayor of a major American city.
I started in my 20s, as a student at the University of California, Berkeley.
I worked as a janitor, and a few years later I was elected to the Berkeley City Council.
I also ran for the city attorney, and then the district attorney.
I was a lawyer for five years before being elected to Congress, and in the early days of my career I was considered a member of the elite.
But the time I spent at the bar and the time at the city attorneys office changed me, and the way I thought about my life changed as well.
In my mid 20s I became an environmental activist, working on behalf of my family in the hills of New Jersey, where I grew up.
I got my law degree from a local law school, and as a young lawyer, I spent a lot of time on environmental issues, but at the same time I was trying to make a living as a lawyer.
That was my passion, and it was something I wanted my kids to see too.
After working for three years as an environmental attorney, I was hired by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a nonprofit environmental organization, to work on climate change.
“I think that the only way we can do something about climate change is to take a stand, and to be loud and be bold,” said Jessica Lewis, who is running for mayor in Berkeley, California.
She’s a former state representative and is running as an independent, the first woman to run for mayor of an American city, and she has a huge following of Berkeley’s progressive community.
The first woman elected to represent Berkeley, she is one of the city’s most popular candidates, and has been endorsed by Mayor Jesse Arreguin, the city councilman who is one-third of the council.
Lewis and her husband, Mark, are also running as Democrats, and they say they are the first openly gay candidate in Berkeley.
They want to build a city that is more livable for everyone, and Lewis says they want to bring a progressive agenda to Berkeley.
“I believe that we must protect our environment and that our environment must be healthy and vibrant, and we must make sure that our economy is strong and our schools are excellent,” she said.
Her husband says she understands the urgency of the climate change issue, and he believes that her campaign is the first time in American history that a woman has run for office on the Green Party ticket.
“[We] want to make Berkeley a more welcoming place to all who live here,” he said.
“We want to protect our forests and waterways and our parks.
We want to reduce carbon emissions and improve our air quality.
And we want to keep the lights on, keep the traffic moving, keep people safe.”
Lewis says her husband’s message is one that resonates with the community.
She says, “If you live in Berkeley and you see your child in the city, I know that you feel the same.”
Her message is that, “We’re all Berkeleyers now.”
This election is a chance for Lewis to bring in a progressive coalition, and, with the endorsement of the Democratic mayor, she says she will be able to work with her allies to create a Berkeley that is diverse and progressive, one that supports all of us.
“In Berkeley we have a lot in common,” she says.
“And that’s what we want Berkeley to be, a place that’s diverse and inclusive, that’s a place where we can all live, work, and raise our families together.”
If you would like to donate to the Lewis campaign, click here.
Follow David Sirota on Twitter: @davidsirota