St. Paul, Minnesota , United States
Nov 28, 2018 11:48am
|Info||Trista is a mother, a wife, a veteran, and a vocal and effective advocate. Over her career, she has tirelessly spoken out for important issues like affordable housing, homelessness, mental health, disability services, autism research, urban agriculture and veterans services. |
Trista joined the United States Navy at 17, and served on active duty for 16 years. She is one a only a handful who have served in three branches of the service, both as an enlisted person and as an officer the Navy-Marine Corps and the Army National Guard. Trista often served as the only or first woman in each of her duty assignments and was the first woman to serve as Commander of the 34th Military Police Company.
After her military service, Trista became a community organizer and policy leader for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, where she developed government relationships as an advocate for affordable housing. During this time she helped found the Homes for ALL Coaltion, working to increase funding for the entire housing continuum.
At the same time, Trista also founded the Women Veterans Initiative, a nonprofit organization that advocates to build equity in services and to develop innovative programs to address the needs of Women Veterans. She was integral in passing legislation for the Women Veterans license plate and in declaring October to be Veterans Voices Month. She has spoken across the country and internationally about issues impacting the veteran community, and is a contributing author to the Attorney’s Guide to Defending Veterans In Criminal Court. She has served as a Ramsey County Veterans Court Advocate and is frequently involved in assisting veterans to access services and connect with resources throughout the community.
On September 11th, 2001, Trista’s then-2 year-old son Hunter was diagnosed with severe autism and developmental delay. The diagnosis changed Trista’s life and career forever. Hunter requires 24 hour care, which has forced her family for the past 17 years to rely on county services . Her first-hand knowledge of the difficulty of navigating these services is what motivated Trista to run for County Commissioner. She knows the complicated forms, the shortage of planning and information, and the dehumanization that can be associated with use of the services, and she is determined to reform the system so that we put dignity back into our Ramsey County services and make sure we have a county that works for all of us.
She has five sons with her husband Hector: Taavo, 20; Hunter, 18; Kaelen, 15; Soren, 9; and Aren, 7. They live in the Payne/Phalen neighborhood.