I still remember his name was Nick and he was only 18-years old. He had been shot several times in the abdomen. He was one of the hundreds of gunshot victims that I would treat as a trauma nurse at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. Despite our best efforts, Nick would not survive; his injuries were too severe.  

When my husband, Dr. Eric Munoz, and I moved to New Jersey, Eric became an attending surgeon in the Level I Trauma Center at The University Hospital in Newark. Among his many difficult tasks was leading a team of emergency personnel in triaging patients with gunshot wounds and administering life-saving procedures.  

My husband and I saw first-hand the life and death consequences of gun violence – both the physical realities of it and the heart-wrenching ones, when families are torn apart by loss.  It is an experience that my husband brought to the Legislature when he served District 21 in the Assembly. It is an understanding that I, as the only trauma nurse in the Legislature, bring as well to every decision I make in the Legislature. 

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As a proud representative of District 21, I have always put my constituents’ best interests first and have advocated for common sense gun legislation. New Jersey has some of the strictest guns laws in the entire country and I will continue to see that these laws are working to protect our neighborhoods and our state, at large. The only pledge that I have ever taken as a legislator is to put families first, just as I have always done throughout my decades as a nurse seeing to the health and welfare of women and children in urban clinics and hospitals.    

I will always remember Nick, just as I remember every one of my constituents in District 21 every time I vote on the issues that matter to them.