Lives in: Boise, ID
Job: Communications specialist for a local government agency
Party affiliation: Republican
What is a political opinion you have that you're afraid to talk about with your friends or family?
"As a Republican, and one that grew up in the Bible Belt at that, I am afraid to share with my conservative counterparts that I am pro-choice. I have many friends who have had abortions, and I know those were and still are difficult decisions for them. With my husband, however, it's a different story: He's conservative and very much pro-life. And we respectfully disagree."
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the U.S. today?
"The economic impact of student loans on younger generations. How can we afford to buy homes or start families when half of our net pay goes to student loan providers? My husband and I carry significant student loans — I had about $140,000 when I graduated and he had about $115,000 — and it's changed how we have made decisions around mortgage payments, car payments, and having babies. We are currently pregnant, but we did make an effort to carefully plan when we would have children so we could afford child care and other expenses.
"We were also able to buy a house a couple of years ago, because we were able to save about $6,000 while my husband was deployed in the Air Force, thanks to the extra dependent pay he got.
"To deal with this issue, I believe that, while we should have our kids educated beyond the 12th grade, I don't know that pushing them into four-year schools is the best decision for all kids. I think it has to be individualized for students, with more vocational offerings."
Do you think that political compromise is an important aspect of politics that your side needs to engage in? And if so, what issues would you like to see compromise on?
"Certainly, political compromise is a foundation of government. As a Republican, I see issues we need to compromise with Democrats on, and vice versa. Our country is at a crossroads when it comes to immigration reform. What if our country took care of people while also setting stricter limits? It's such a sad situation, scrolling through social media and seeing all the heartbreak. Our parties are so polarized. Yes, there is an element of law enforcement that needs to come into play, but we also need to provide more social services. We need to put more money into research, social workers, and agencies."
Do you think Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric could be stalling progress when it comes to immigration policy?
"He is our president, and I will support any president in office — our country voted him in. But I think politicians need to let their communications departments handle matters of the press. Unfortunately, Trump tends to put himself in the spotlight more often than not, and what he shares doesn't tend to be information, it tends to be emotion. ... I believe in ghostwriting."
Why did you vote for Trump and do you think you'll vote for him again in 2020?
"I voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election because I felt he and the Republican Party most closely aligned with my political ideals. In a way, my beliefs on financial and social policies are sort of like when an airline reminds adults to put on the oxygen mask first before helping children. We have to preserve what is already mature and underway before tackling new policies or social issues. President Trump promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States during his 2016 campaign, to increase military spending, to increase infrastructure spending, and to work on eliminating our country’s debt.
"I will definitely support a Republican in 2020, even if it's not Trump."
Do you think that Trump is delivering on those promises?
"I want to believe that President Trump is delivering on his campaign promises. I wish I knew for certain — yes, he is, or no, he is not. I have a difficult time wading through news and finding the answers to these questions. I rarely watch televised news and do not subscribe to any papers, so I am dependent upon what I find in highlights online. How I have brought these issues closer to home is by putting more effort into shopping locally and purchasing American-made products. I also vote for levies and bonds that increase infrastructure spending in my community."
Are there any issues that you think have moved too far to the left or to the right? If so, which ones?
"I am pro-choice, but I grew up in a household that was pro-life. I probably developed my understanding of the issue in high school and college, when I had friends facing that decision and I could see how their lives were dramatically changed based on the decisions they had made. I personally know that I could never abort a child, but I don't want to take that away from someone else.
"Unfortunately, many of our states are acting too conservatively when it comes to abortion and sex education. How can we not teach sex ed, but then tell women they cannot have an abortion? I ultimately believe we need to provide better sex education in order to prevent people from even having to make the decision. I can see myself crossing party lines on this issue when it comes to voting, although I think it's more of a cultural than political issue."
"Although I'm not necessarily comfortable with Trump's rhetoric on abortion, I can see how it has a place in campaigning. With Trump, I still follow the majority of what he stands for."
How has your life changed since Trump was elected?
"I do not feel safe sharing my political philosophy openly with my friends. I really feel like my safety, my profession, could be in jeopardy if I talk about politics openly, and I’ve definitely lost friends over it. I have felt more attacked as a person for voting for President Trump than I have for anything else in my life, which is so frustrating. I am sure I made snide comments about President Obama, that's just part of being on the other side of the aisle politically, but I don't believe I attacked any of my friends for their political philosophy. It's disheartening that our country has become so politically divided — there's so much change we can implement locally, so why are we so focused on the federal government?
"Last year, my mother-in-law applied and got to be part of the volunteer coordinators that decorated the White House for Christmas. She's a mother of two in the military. I saw my friends posting about the cranberry-covered trees in hateful ways, and then I posted about the Christmas experience my mother-in-law had on Facebook. This was meant to be patriotic and tied to a holiday, but I was mortified that some people made it so political. Many of my liberal friends, I was really disappointed in them. They slammed her for being part of 'Melania's Christmas in the White House.' I talked to some of them about it later, and tried to make them understand that regardless of party affiliation, she felt patriotic in doing the service for the White House."
This interview has been edited and condensed.