I’m Ally Dalsimer, and I’m running for Congress to represent the people of Virginia’s 11th district.
- Served on Obama White House Climate Council
- Cofounder of multiple national conservation initiatives
- Implemented transformative policy changes to protect our nations resources
- VP Gore National Partnership for Reinventing Government “Hammer” Award
- National Military Fish and Wildlife Association’s Natural Resource Conservation Management Policy Award
- U.S. Air Force Award for Outstanding Contribution to USAF Conservation Programs
- National DoD Partners in Flight award for Outstanding Contribution to the Conservation of Neotropical Migratory Bird Habitat
- Performance Award in Recognition of Exceptional Support to DoD’s Conservation Program
In 1990, I was offered two jobs on the same day: one at a corporate law firm and the other at a non-profit environmental foundation. The law firm offered a salary 40% higher than the foundation, but the choice was easy – I joined the foundation. Thirty years later I’d worked my way up to the GS-15 position of managing the Natural Resources Program at the Department of Defense.
While working for DoD’s natural resources managers, I developed multiple policies and procedures to improve efficiencies and maximize effectiveness during a time of shrinking natural resource budgets. To plan and enact these initiatives, I collaborated closely with colleagues from federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations, because only by listening to ALL stakeholders, and especially to the folks who will be directly impacted by policies, can ensure our actions have positive outcomes.
Background and Family
I’ve lived in Northern Virginia since I was 8 years old, and in district 11 since it was created in 1991. My story is typical in some ways and very different in others. To understand me and how I came to this point in life, let me share a bit about my heritage.
My mother is a first-generation immigrant, whose parents met in Glasgow before WW2. During the war, my grandmother served as a Red Cross nurse, and my grandfather was a minister. He came from a large Welsh coal-mining family, who pooled their funds so he could live a life outside of the mines. My father’s family arrived in New Orleans in the mid-1800s, and came to own a successful landscape business in New York.
My early years were spent in Central and West Africa, where my father served in the Foreign Service and my mother worked for the African-American Institute and U.S. Information Agency. When I was 5, my parents returned from Africa and, within the year, divorced. Three moves and three years later, we moved to Arlington, VA, to be close to my dad who was stationed in D.C.
While in Africa, my mom taught English to high school girls in Mali, established the first family planning program in the Kivu (Congo), and worked to promote a Women in Development Program in Somalia. Back in the U.S., despite living below the poverty line and earning $.57 for every $1 her male counterparts earned, she continued her activism, volunteering for the local Democratic Party and teaching English to ESOL students in the Arlington County public school system.
While my dad was stationed in D.C., he took us hiking and exploring in Rock Creek Park and to Earth Day celebrations on the National Mall. One week each summer, we camped in Virginia State parks. He taught us the value of natural areas and the importance of conservation. When my sister and I were teenagers, he went back to Africa and we spent our summers in Chad, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), and Zaire (Congo). We saw first-hand the ravages of extreme poverty, of civil wars, and of how power can corrupt leaders who once – but no longer – had the people’s interests at heart.
- Georgetown University, Master’s in Public Policy, Environmental Law and Economics
- University of Richmond: BA, English and Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa
- USDA Graduate School: Environmental Policy
- Audubon Naturalist Society: field-based coursework
- Certified facilitator
So who am I?
- I am a widow who lost her husband to bone cancer 2 days after his 52nd birthday.
- I am a single mother who was raised by a single mother.
- I am a woman who volunteered in our neighborhood schools for 14 years and at our neighborhood pool for four.
- I am passionate about things that matter, and fed up with the inaction and inequities that plague our society.
For my 12th birthday, my mom gave me a t-shirt that read “A woman’s place is in the House—and the Senate.” I believed that then, and I believe it now.
I am running for Congress to make a difference by representing the American people, not corporate interests.
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