Najaah Daniels, Campaign Manager for NV-04 candidate Pat Spearman (D), reflects on Spearman’s strength & readiness to lead.
For·ti·tude: courage in pain or adversity.
My commitment to public service began 15 years ago. Although 10 years old at the time, I experienced intense tribulation. I have vivid memories of trips to battered women’s shelters, methadone clinics, family court, and the deportation of my biological mother. These are just some of the moments that have shaped the Public Servant I am today.
My upbringing made me question why certain groups of people — mostly individuals with a similar socioeconomic background — are not given their chance at the American Dream.
I was given what I call my “second chance at life” in 2003. Moving from New York City to the Nevada suburbs after being adopted expanded my entire universe. I noticed once my zip code changed so did everything and everyone around me.
For the first time I was able to stop worrying about my daily survival and start living life as a kid. For the first time I knew what privilege felt like.
From that moment, I committed to taking full advantage of every opportunity this new life presented me. Consciously deciding to turn my wounds into power, I ventured into government and politics with one goal in mind: to inform, empower, and mobilize others also in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
2016 was the first time I was introduced to Nevada State Senator Patricia Ann “Pat” Spearman. Because of Spearman’s extensive 40-year career, she went by many titles (depending on who you spoke with): Pastor Pat, Lieutenant Colonel Spearman, State Senator Spearman, and Dr. Patricia Ann Spearman (PhD in Business Administration with an emphasis in Renewable Energy).
By then I’d had my fair share of encounters with politicians and public figures. Becoming starstruck just wasn’t in the cards… so I thought. Then I heard her speak.
“Regardless of what you believe, this election is about stewardship. This is about economic and social justice. We all ought to be warriors in that.”
Captivated by her empathy — Senator Spearman’s words of progress, service, and patriotism spoke directly to me. From that moment I knew Patricia Ann Spearman was the personification of Protect And Serve.
However, I failed to foresee that two years later unanticipated circumstances would reunite me — for the 3rd time — with Nevada’s 4th Congressional District and in 2018, on the 15-year anniversary of my adoption, I was granted the opportunity to serve as Senator Spearman’s Campaign Manager in her historic race for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Since then, I have come to know and respect Pat more than I thought possible.
Below is a short autobiography of the life of Pat Spearman, in her own words. I hope that her personal journey inspires you as it has me, and that you will support her in her quest to become the next Congressperson for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. Her primary is on June 12th, and the general election is on November 6th.
Patricia Ann Spearman
My Mom and Dad divorced in 1958 when I was 3 years old. Mom remarried when I was 4; dad when I was 8. My paternal grandmother “Other Mother” provided the support my parents were unable to give. She was a teacher; taught in public schools for over 60 years and she made sure I had an opportunity to excel in academics. For that I was grateful.
Although I excelled academically, going to school was emotionally painful. As a child my classmates teased me for the way I looked. When I stayed with my Mom we didn’t have much money. I owned a few dresses, one pair of shoes, and often went to school and bed hungry. My family was members of the Pentecostal tradition; also known as “Holy Rollers”. Women were not allowed to wear makeup, dresses and skirts were to be below the knee, and we did not watch much TV or listen to anything outside of religious music.
Living with my Dad was very different. The environment gave me financial security and freedom. Although he believed in God, my Dad was not a super religious person and my two worlds clashed. I enjoyed the independence and stability that living with my Dad provided, but living a secular lifestyle created an internal battle. I believed God would forgive me for the music and makeup but surely not for my secret.
By the time I was a teenager, I experienced my first same gender [non-sexual] relationship and accepted my gayness. My internal struggle combined with external isolation pushed me to excel at everything I undertook.
I had to be smarter, more religious, a better athlete, musically inclined, physically fit and mentally strong… I had to “be better” in case someone discovered my secret. – Pat Spearman
I kept my secret the entirety of my military career. In 1992, I married my best friend thinking this would “cure me of my gayness” but the woman I portrayed wasn’t the woman I am.
When I joined ROTC in college, my secret almost kept me from pursuing a career as a Military officer. During my 29 years of service, I served in the Army Operations Center of the Pentagon, graduated from the prestigious Command and General Staff College, and ascended to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. At this time “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was very much alive and well. I knew I could not embrace my sexual orientation AND continue to serve my country in the military.
As a gay, African-American, 63 year old retired Veteran I will bring my career of fighting for equality to Congress. Poverty, homophobia, religious persecution, racism, sexism, ageism, and attacks on our national security are all feats we face as a nation. I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District because I am equipped with the empathy and fortitude needed to govern in today’s society.
It’s heart-wrenching because you have your whole heart invested in what you’re doing, yet you cannot reveal your whole self while doing it.” – Pat Spearman
As a Nevada State Senator, I have successfully introduced and passed numerous pieces of legislation from job creation to the Equal Rights Amendment in 2017; 35 years past the deadline set by Congress. I have passed legislation that adds gender identity to the state’s hate crime law, equal pay for women, advocated for Gold Star families’ children to have priority placement in childcare, and Senate Bill 124 — a bill prohibiting domestic abusers from being able to own guns.
My grandmother used to say:
“If you see something that needs to be fixed or made better, God has already given you what you need to fix it or will show you someone who can.”
My personal and professional journeys have shaped my worldview as a Progressive, Public Servant, and Patriot. I am running for Congress because I still live by the oath I took as a young slick sleeve officer four decades ago; to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Dr. Patricia “Pat” Spearman is a candidate for Congress in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. She resides and serves in North Las Vegas, Nevada where she represents Senate District 1. As a former Pastor, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, and one of three openly gay senators in the Legislature, sending Pat to Washington means sending a soldier who will fight to ensure that everyone is treated equally under the law. Learn more about Pat by visiting www.Spearman4Congress.com.