This week I’m thrilled to have Keana Meyer take over the blog.
Keana is a long-time Dallasite, successful fashion model, busy mom of three, and wife to Texas State Representative Morgan Meyer. Community activists, both Keana and Morgan, are passionate supporters of organizations that combat child trafficking and help women needing shelter from abusive relationships. As Chair of the Texas House of Representative’s General Investigation Committee, Rep. Meyer is leading the charge to create laws against human trafficking and sex crimes.
Keana and Morgan have affected real change in areas Saints of June cares deeply about. I was excited to talk to Keana about how she manages as a busy mom and public figure with such grace and wit, and to find out about the women who’ve inspired her along the way.
I know you’ll enjoy this read!
Kate - How has your life changed since Morgan became Texas rep?
Keana - Public service has its pros and cons. Since Morgan’s election, I never leave the house without mascara, lip-gloss and the acute awareness that I may be stopped in the grocery store to discuss Robin Hood. My Christmas card list has grown from 200 to 2000 and we celebrate Easter with the Governor at his mansion. We meet political figures from all over the world. President George Bush knows us by name. The ‘State Official’ license plates dictate a certain amount of restraint in situations that previously would have provoked some sort of an aggressive response. I once paid for the entire order for a car in a Starbucks drive-through because the driver was *confused* as to how the drive-through line worked. In every sense, you live publicly, really it’s the way we should all be living all the time…with tremendous grace and empathy.
Kate - How did you and Morgan get involved in public service/politics?
Keana - Morgan has always been interested in government. He served as a delegate to the ’92 GOP convention and went on to work for Congressman Larry Combest in D.C. during college. When our local House Representative ran for higher office and vacated his seat, Morgan and I decided it was a great opportunity to be able to make a difference in our children’s future. Morgan truly has a gift when it comes to understanding and analyzing laws. I am always in awe when I hear him argue for or against legislation.
Kate - You both are passionate about advocating for women and children. How did that come to pass and how have you seen some of the laws that Morgan has been able to put in place make positive changes?
Keana - Morgan’s motivation for running for office was very simple. We wanted to make the world better/safer for our 3 children. One of the problems that was brought to our attention after he was newly elected, was the hidden epidemic of child sex trafficking that plagues Dallas.
Texas ranks #2 in the country for human trafficking, much of the problem being right here in our communities. In Dallas alone, it is a $99 million industry.
In an attempt to combat this, Morgan has passed the most comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation to date. He has passed a wide array of legislation, which was signed into law, that addressed issues dealing with keeping registered sex offenders off school properties, providing safety measures for schools on election days when schools are unlocked to the public, as well as legislation to protect women from unsolicited lewd images- you cannot expose yourself in public so why can you do it online?
His focus this session has been on school finance reform, making sure that ALL Texas schools receive the funding that they need, that our teachers receive the pay they deserve and that special needs students are protected and have the funding they need to thrive.
My passion is for empowering women. I am President of the Alliance Board for Genesis Women’s Shelter and a very active supporter of organizations like New Friends, New Life, who help trafficked women break the cycle of abuse. Morgan is a member of both of these organizations, actively supports their men's’ advocacy groups and has received the ProtectHER Award from New Friends, New Life for his work. We both advocate for and educate our community through awareness so that the cycle of abuse against women will end.
Kate - Any funny stories about balancing being a mom with young children with being a political and public family?
Keana - Public life and raising a family can be tricky. We hold our children up to a higher standard and expect them to reflect leadership….which can be tough in the world of Instagram and social media. Our children were 6, 4 and 9 months when Morgan first ran for office (what were we thinking?!). My son's first memories are of block walking in the scorching Texas heat. We have changed poopy diapers on parade floats, had our son interrupt a former US Senator and current Ambassador to NATO because he needed to go to the bathroom, and most notably mined his nose while sitting on the House dias during a record vote. The Speaker of the House sent us an autographed photo to commemorate the moment.
As our children get older, shielding them from the negativity and false narratives that accompany elections has become much more challenging. Our children see their father as a hero and it is hard for them to understand how anyone could see him differently.
During a recent speaking event, a parent and her children were publicly very disrespectful toward Morgan. We used this as a teaching moment so our children understand that we always treat people with respect even if their opinion or views may be different from our own.
Kate - Who inspired you growing up to become to the woman you are today?
Keana - I am always searching for inspiring women to surround myself with... I look for women who are the independent thinkers, the risk takers, the trailblazers. These are the people who see the herd going left and take a hard right. These ladies are smarter, more ambitious and most definitely savvier than I am... And my intentions are clear; let some of their talents rub off on me…please?
My mom is one of these women. She was my Girl Scout leader, among many other things. It was the perfect role for a hands-on, roll up her sleeves, down-to-earth kind of gal. She has always been the most amazing combination of Betty Crocker and Mary Poppins, with a bit of June Cleaver sprinkled in. Weathering any storm with grace, she is armed with a positive attitude and her faith to guide her. My mom is a far better mother than I am--and I am counting on her to fill in all my gaps.
Kate - What are some bits of wisdom you have collected from your journey so far?
Keana - Don’t sweat the small stuff. It took 30 years of constant reminders from my mom before this one sank in.
You can’t control what you can’t control - it’s His plan. Faith keeps me on track.
Be authentic. Surround yourself with people you look up to...find a mentor.
Leave things a little better than you found them. I credit my mom with this one...as a scout leader, she constantly impressed on us how important it is to leave a positive legacy behind.
Confidence is the most attractive thing a woman can wear. After 20 years in the fashion industry, I have learned that even the most appalling outfit can be overcome with poise and a strong positive attitude. We’ve got this!