When her peers were heading off to college, Elaine was compelled to be part of something bigger than herself and joined the Navy at 17—so she could give back and help build a safer, stronger, and fairer society for this generation and the next.
On her first day in uniform, she was inspired by the Naval Academy’s Mission, to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government. Elaine served for 20 years as a Surface Warfare Officer and nuclear engineer deploying six times—twice forward-deployed on ships stationed in Japan—conducting operations in the Middle East and Western Pacific on destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers.
Whether it was enforcing sanctions by boarding Iraqi oil smugglers in the Arabian Gulf, launching jets off the deck of the aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean to simultaneously strike terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, operating complex nuclear reactors, as second in command of a guided missile cruiser, or in command of a combat-ready unit of 400 sailors, providing assault craft to support the U.S. Marine Corps: Elaine never let politics get in the way of doing what was right and getting the job done.
While Elaine’s service to our country was coming to an end – she officially retired from the Navy on June 1, 2017 – she was inspired to help the community that she and her family call home.
That’s why she started a family business, Mermaid Factory, that began as a block of clay on her kitchen table. From 2013-2018, Mermaid Factory created jobs in the community, donated over fifty thousand dollars to charity, and infused more than a quarter of a million tax dollars into our economy. Over 50,000 people experienced Mermaid Factory– by spending time with family or friends, expressing their creativity, and taking home a souvenir of Hampton Roads’ iconic mermaid and dolphin symbols. Mermaid Factory continues to manufacture our products locally and give back to organizations in the community that support youth and the arts.
In Congress, Elaine will use her experience in the Navy and as a small-business owner to protect our country and create an economy that works for everyone – not just those at the top. Her 20-year Navy career makes her the clear choice to represent this military-rich district with the world’s largest navy base and among the highest concentration of veterans, including the largest number of female veterans nationwide. Through her experience as an entrepreneur, she can relate to the challenges and potential of small businesses and their impact on the community. And, as a mother, she will fight to ensure a brighter future for every child.
To help the families, seniors, and businesses of Hampton Roads, we need leaders with real-world experience. We need leaders who know what it means to serve, have overcome obstacles, faced adversity and became stronger because of it.