I was born in Stoney Creek to an autoworker’s family.
I worked my way through McMaster University on low wage jobs to earn my B.A. in labour studies.
After earning my degree, I worked in the community – teaching and training workers in Hamilton, immersing myself in the Co-op Housing movement in Welland and becoming a Community Development Coordinator for a local legal clinic.
I was elected City Councillor for downtown Hamilton in 1997, where I brought vision and practicality to the job and left a legacy of accomplishments as a three-time Councillor.
I was elected MPP in 2004, in a by-election that reopened Queen’s Park to Hamilton’s progressive voices.
In the past five years my work in the legislature exposed neglect in long-term care and nursing homes, pioneered compensation for firefighters who get seriously ill on the job due to toxins, advanced a bill to outlaw workplace harassment, conducted a ten-city provincial tour on pension reform and ardently championed not-for-profit, affordable childcare at Queen’s Park.