"Having a child with special needs has taught me to advocate and be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves."
I grew up in small farming community as the youngest of 3 children. My Dad was a factory worker building railcars, and Mom was a secretary. When I was two years old, my Mom & Dad started a small business bringing snacks and sundries to gas stations and small grocery stores along the highway.
A few months later my 34-year-old Dad was killed by a drunk driver on his way to help my Mom when the delivery truck broke down. Losing my Dad at such a young age gave me a real sense of purpose, because I was supposed to have been with him that afternoon. Instead, he had dropped me off at my Grandma's house on his way out of town.
With 3 children under the age of 10, at a time when very few women had paying jobs, Mom raised us the best she could. She would buy hamburger with the little money she could scrape together so at least for us kids would have food on the table. And Grandma and Grandpa took care of us while Mom was on the road.
A few years later, Mom met my Step-Dad--a union man who drove heavy equipment to help build roads, bridges, and highways. We were taught to work hard, always use our manners and to be respectful to our elders. And my Mom taught me to always be able to take care of myself, be prepared, and to never take life for granted.
I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing from Murray State University in Kentucky; right afterwards, I moved to the Chicago area.
I started out working with representatives in a small broker/dealer helping the firm grow from 25 to over 300 representatives in 4 years. I continued to build relationships and partnerships as the Director of National Programs, Divisional Marketing Director and rising to the role of National Accounts Manager for the Financial Services arm of a leading Life Insurance company. I increased sales from $12 million to $56 million in just two years based on the strength and integrity of the long-term relationships I had built with key industry leaders and influencers in the financial services community.
Afterwards, in 1995, I married Andy, who currently works in the Renewable Energy field. We are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. We wanted to become parents right away but went through 3 ½ years of infertility treatments to finally have our first son Zachary, who is now 20. Shortly after he was born, legislation was being proposed at the State Capitol that would require parental infertility medical treatments to be declared on a child's birth certificate. No way!! That experience lit my fire to advocate for others like us. I soon became the Chapter President of a non-profit advocacy organization, called RESOLVE.
Our second son, Andrew, who is 17 and has Down Syndrome has taught me to focus on what’s important in life. He teaches me more than I could ever teach him! He has taught me patience. He has taught me how to embrace others who are different from me. He has taught me grace. He has taught me to never give up when the going gets tough. He has taught me that the fight is worth it all, and to celebrate the small victories along the journey and especially the big wins!
Daonna and her husband, Andy, have lived in this Legislative District for 23 years, while raising their sons in Plymouth. The two young men have attended the local public school district. Their family has been active at their local church.
DaonnaForMnHouse@yahoo.com Phone 763-370-9687
Prepared and paid for by the Depoister Volunteer committee, 4190 Vinewood Ln. N., #111-439, Plymouth, MN 55442 763-370-9687