WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- It’s only within the past year that 32-year-old Sabrina Shrader has started to emerge from poverty.
“For a lot of my life, I went a week to two weeks without food," said Shrader.
Shrader grew up poor in McDowell County, West Virginia. She worked to pay her bills. Food was a luxury, if she had any money left over.
Things started changing for Shrader in 2013 when she testified before the West Virginia legislature.
“I had a calling that I was supposed to be part of a political revolution,” she explained.
The local paper dubbed her “The Face of Poverty.”
“I never wanted to be the face of poverty," said Shrader. "It’s not a fun place to be. However, I didn’t see anyone saying these things or telling my truth anywhere.”
Soon, others took notice. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders invited Shrader to Washington to tell her story before he even announced his candidacy for president.
Shrader has followed and supported Sanders ever since. And although Sanders didn’t earn the Democratic nomination, his message resonated so much with Shrader, she’s now running for a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
She even served in the Democratic National Convention’s platform committee. As the only representative from West Virginia, Shrader helped add language regarding toxic dumping.
“To me, I don’t see it as an accomplishment. I’m really glad to be here, I’m really glad to learn. I want to get in here and change things the best way I know how – to be the most practical, to help the most people," she said.
Shrader is one of three Democrats challenging three incumbent Republicans in November’s general election.