Where she’s from
Born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Andrea lived in Johnson County for parts of her high school and college years. She is a graduate of Johnson County Community College, the University of Kansas, and the University of Central Florida. She recently returned to the Johnson County area after living outside of Kansas for several years.
About her family
Andrea’s mother grew up in Shawnee, Kansas, the daughter of small business owners. She initially earned degrees in urban planning, and, while Andrea was a child, worked for the State of Kansas. Later, she went back to school for a degree in nursing home administration. She used that knowledge to become the Executive Director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care (KABC) a nonprofit organization dedicated to “advocating for Quality Long-Term Care for residents of licensed adult care homes.” After retiring, she has continued to support the work of KABC, and has become both a Master Gardener and Master Foodie here in Johnson County. She and her husband—a retired Marine who served in the Vietnam War—live in Shawnee. In addition, many of Andrea’s extended family on her mother’s side live in the KC Metro.
Her father grew up in Greensburg, Kansas, the son of small farmers. He was an artist and photographer and earned degrees in architecture. He was a lifelong architect who also enjoyed working in his shop and on projects around the house. He was a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and organizer.
Both of Andrea’s parents were in the Peace Corps after earning their graduate degrees, and spent their time in Tunisia assisting communities with development.
Andrea also has three sisters, a brother and a multitude of niblings.
Why she joined the League
The League is an organization Andreas has known about for some time, but had never joined. Current LWVJoCo President (and former VP) Janet Milkovich recruited her to be on a panel about the Electoral College in September 2021. After meeting with Janet, Andrea decided “now” would be a good time to join.
What she thinks the League does well
Andrea notes she has not been a member long, but from what she’s seen, there are a lot of things the League does well. Programming and member engagement, voter education and engagement, and being more aware of and informed about diversity, equity, and inclusion are a few that immediately come to her mind.
Where she would like to see the League focus in the future
Andrea is a strong supporter of the League’s most recent strategic plan. In particular, she is interested to see how we can connect folks from various age groups and encourage civic engagement amongst our emergent voters.She is also thrilled to be a part of an organization that is prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and amplifying the voices of folks that society, at large, has not been as attentive to. “It’s an exciting time to be part of the work here at the League.”
What she does to strengthen our democracy
Andrea’s background is mostly political science, with some more recent forays into nonprofit management. She believes one of the biggest things we can all do to strengthen democracy is connect with emergent voters and help them develop a love and commitment to civic understanding and engagement. To Andrea, this is a value shared by the League as well. The strength of our system of government rests upon the assumption that voters are informed and engaged. That they make their voices heard and hold officials and offices accountable. So most of what she spends her time thinking about is, “what can I do to support information and internet literacy? What can I do to encourage younger folks to get involved in the community?”
She is a former board member for the Kaw Valley Kickball League, a competitive kickball league in Lawrence. Andrea was also a competitive swimmer throughout her youth.
How she’s coping with the pandemic
Avoiding large gatherings and crowds. Andrea is an introvert by nature, so this comes rather easily.