I am a lifetime Pittsburgh-area resident born to a middle-class family in Ross Township. My father was a salesman who worked in the early burgeoning tech industry in the area and my mother worked part-time in retail.
When I was a teenager, our family found out my father had an addiction to opioids, having been prescribed them after a car accident before I was born. Uncertainty became my new reality. After my father went through multiple stints in rehab, my mother, sister and I fled our home and overnight I went from having everything – a college savings account, a home, a future, to an uncertain future. It was by the grace of family, friends, and neighbors that I rarely found myself without food or a place to stay.
After graduating from North Hills High School, I was thrilled to find out despite my financial situation, I would be able to attend the University of Pittsburgh. My dream school and my father’s alma mater.
I did everything I could to pay my way through my years at Pitt – I cleaned locker rooms, nannied children and worked restaurant shifts. I also managed to squeeze in an unpaid internship. The efforts paid off, and I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a business degree, only to be welcomed into the worst economic recession in our economy’s modern-day history. I did what I had to do, work whatever job I could to make ends meet. Moving back home was not an option, it never would be again.
In August 2009, I received a phone call that I do not wish on anyone. My father had died of circumstances related to his addiction and they had found him on the side of a highway in Florida. His life-long struggle with opioids had come to an end.
My father’s death provided clarity in my life path.
"I am running because I believe Pennsylvania's government is in desperate need of young, fresh faces who won’t back down from hard work, aren’t afraid to take a risk to get things done, are strong-willed and resistant to corruption, and truly have a vision for the future of our communities."
I eventually got into a leadership program with a large, international tech company. After working in the private sector, I wanted to do more with my skills. I wanted to change the world and start with my own backyard. I sought volunteer opportunities with community groups, and soon landed a life-changing job at a small nonprofit who worked on environmental justice, job creation and community development.
Knowing that nonprofits, community groups, and government agencies can benefit from business acumen and problem-solving strategies, I embraced my entrepreneurial drive and started my own business. Through my own company, I delivered as much of an impact to the community as possible, working with the local and city government to develop events and initiatives around technology, food access, social justice, and women’s rights.
Inspired by stories of women who serve in elected office and reports of Pennsylvania ranking 49th in terms of women in office during my time in a civic leadership program through the nonprofit Coro, I co-founded an initiative called She Runs SWPA, which aims to empower more women into running for elected office in the region.
I’ve been a proud Lawrenceville resident for nine years, and I volunteer my time in my neighborhood as a member of the Lawrenceville United Housing Committee and steward to our community gardens.
I am running because I believe Pennsylvania's government is in desperate need of young, fresh faces who won’t back down from hard work, aren’t afraid to take a risk to get things done, are strong-willed and resistant to corruption, and truly have a vision for the future of our communities.
I am a Democrat because I believe human rights are not a bargaining chip to pass legislation. We need to put people, not corporations, first when making decisions in Harrisburg.
The 21st District
The 21st District encompasses parts of the eastern part of the City of Pittsburgh – including Bloomfield, Central Lawrenceville, Friendship, Morningside, Stanton Heights, and Upper Lawrenceville – as well as the northern suburbs – including Aspinwall, Etna, Millvale, O’Hara Township, Reserve Township, Ross Township, Sharpsburg, Shaler and Township.
It is home to nearly 60,000 residents, vibrant business districts and historic neighborhoods. The Pittsburgh Public Schools, Fox Chapel, North Hills, and Shaler school districts educate our children.
Check your voter registration on the Pennsylvania Department of State website.
What we are fighting for
Sara is running for state representative to support policies that will create a Pennsylvania for us all.
Healthcare For All
Our healthcare system is broken. Pennsylvania is primed to be a state leader by guaranteeing comprehensive, universal health care for ALL Pennsylvanians by passing Medicare-for-all legislation that will save us money in the long term, create jobs, and save lives.
Women’s Rights are Human Rights. All women – Black women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian queer and trans women – are entitled to equal access to workplace safety, equal pay, paid parental leave, full access to healthcare, and bodily autonomy.
We believe that – in the richest country in the nation – that if you work 40 hours a week, you deserve a wage that supports yourself and your family. In order to do that, we must raise the minimum wage and tie it to inflation, support collective bargaining and expanding unions, paid family leave, and universal childcare.
Housing As a Human Right
The 21st District contains one of the most rapidly gentrifying zip codes in America. While it is a beautiful sight to see storefronts that are no longer boarded up but, for many, this sign of a neighborhood thriving introduces a fear of displacement. We need to create legislation that protects tenants and prioritize funding for housing that is affordable and equitable.
The Pennsylvania Constitution says that we have the right to clean air and clean water, but the General Assembly has prioritized corporate profits over community health for far too long. This is illustrated by the flooding in Millvale, the high rates of asthma throughout Allegheny County , and our underfunding of public water systems.
A Bold Education Plan
Public Education is an American value that we’ve slowly and methodically defunded over the past 50 years. As a North Hills graduate myself, I know firsthand the impact a solid public school education can have on a person’s life and ability to succeed. I support universal Pre-K and a college or trade school for all plan.
Let’s Build Something Together
Our campaign, our movement, is fueled by people like you. Join us.
Jack Bekowski, Ross Township Commissioner, Ninth Ward
Jim Burn, former Mayor of Millvale, former Chair of Pennsylvania Democratic Party
Deb Gross, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman, District 7
Brittany Reno, Sharpsburg Council President