Meet Deb

Grew up in a 2nd Generation Immigrant Family Deeply Rooted in Patriotism & Civic Responsibility

The middle of three daughters, Debbie Wachspress was raised in a close-knit family. Her paternal grandfather, who lived with them throughout Deb’s childhood, was an Eastern European immigrant who came to the US as a young man. He worked and saved for several years until he could send for his wife and young daughter, and was eventually able to open his own small business. Deb’s father, Herb, took great pride in serving his country in the Air Force during the Korean War.   

Leadership and taking action came to Deb at a young age, starting with her first election to student council president in middle school. She initiated a letter-writing campaign to members of Congress in 1979 after a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 60 Americans hostage. This seminal moment taught Deb that speaking up and taking action mattered and could have an impact in the world.

Deb’s father served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War from 1950-1954.

Gains Understanding in Academic Opportunity

In high school, Deb worked hard and graduated third in her class. She was awarded a full scholarship to Rutgers University and became the first in her immediate family to graduate from a four-year college. The scholarship became even more important Deb’s junior year when her dad, who had been the family’s breadwinner, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was soon unable to continue working. Deb’s mom went back to work full-time as a secretary — and her union job provided the family’s health insurance for many years.

After graduating college, Deb attended the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers where she earned her master’s degree in political science and public policy. An environmental issues professor inspired her to join him at the state Department of Environmental Protection. She spent the early part of her career advocating for pollution prevention policies that would promote safe water and clean air, many of the same challenges our community is facing today.

Deb, with her mother and grandparents at her graduation from Rutgers University in 1989.

National Leader in the Million Mom March on Washington in 2000

In April of 1999, while caring for a toddler and a newborn baby, Deb  watched the horror unfold at Columbine High School and couldn’t bear to stand by and just watch. She took a job as the statewide coordinator for the Million Mom March and recruited organizers while she spoke to police officers, emergency room doctors, prosecutors, clergy, PTO parents, elected officials and anyone else willing to stand up and fight to put an end to gun violence. Her leadership led to 80 buses and a charter Amtrak bound for Washington DC, full of community members ready to fight for common-sense gun safety laws and getting weapons of war off our streets and out of our schools.

Deb at the Million Mom March with U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Congresswoman Connie Morella (R-MD), & U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Driven to Protect her Community’s Most Vulnerable Members

Drawn to opportunities to help our youth, Deb went to work for the Boys & Girls Club, where she recruited mentors and tutors and raised funds to build a new youth development center. She also advocated for children as part of a statewide safe child consortium that provided services to low-income mothers to prevent child abuse and neglect.

As the mother of three school age children, Deb unseated an outspoken Tea Partier on the Pennsbury School Board and is now serving in her second term. She is proud to have expanded  full-day kindergarten to the entire district, but her proudest moment on the board was fighting to restore health benefits to families of the district’s lowest paid workers, a benefit they had lost in a heated contract dispute with the previous board.

Deb advocating for common sense gun legislation while holding her daughter Anna, pictured here with Mayor Pam Mount.

Spent Her Career Advocating for Children & Families

Deb’s advocacy on behalf of children and families landed her a job with The Peace Center, a nonprofit located in Bucks County that teaches children and adults skills in non-violent conflict resolution and how to stand up to bullying. With racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim, and hateful acts directed at immigrants on a steep rise, her work has helped many people who are vulnerable find support in our local communities.

Stunned by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, Deb couldn’t sit by silently and watch as the country was being torn apart by a President who made a sport out of dividing and insulting people, appealing to fear to build his base, and embarrassing Americans throughout the world. She joined a movement to take action, and co-founded Lower Bucks Indivisible, a local arm of a national grassroots campaign to fight back against  the Trump agenda.

Deb speaking with Bucks County students about the challenges we face in our community.

Grew up in a 2nd Generation Immigrant Family Deeply Rooted in Patriotism & Civic Responsibility

The middle of three daughters, Debbie Wachspress was raised in a close-knit family. Her paternal grandfather, who lived with them throughout Deb’s childhood, was an Eastern European immigrant who came to the US as a young man. He worked and saved for several years until he could send for his wife and young daughter, and was eventually able to open his own small business. Deb’s father, Herb, took great pride in serving his country in the Air Force during the Korean War.

Leadership and taking action came to Deb at a young age, starting with her first election to student council president in middle school. She initiated a letter-writing campaign to members of Congress in 1979 after a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 60 Americans hostage. This seminal moment taught Deb that speaking up and taking action mattered and could have an impact in the world.

Deb’s father served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War from 1950-1954.

Gains Understanding in Academic Opportunity

In high school, Deb worked hard and graduated third in her class. She was awarded a full scholarship to Rutgers University and became the first in her immediate family to graduate from a four-year college. The scholarship became even more important Deb’s junior year when her dad, who had been the family’s breadwinner, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was soon unable to continue working. Deb’s mom went back to work full-time as a secretary — and her union job provided the family’s health insurance for many years.

After graduating college, Deb attended the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers where she earned her master’s degree in political science and public policy. An environmental issues professor inspired her to join him at the state Department of Environmental Protection. She spent the early part of her career advocating for pollution prevention policies that would promote safe water and clean air, many of the same challenges our community is facing today.

Deb, with her mother and grandparents at her graduation from Rutgers University in 1989.

National Leader in the Million Mom March on Washington in 2000

After 7 years at the DEP, Deb left her job when her son Jacob was born. Shortly after, she gave birth to her daughter, Anna. While juggling a toddler and a newborn baby, she watched the horror unfold at Columbine High School and couldn’t bear to stand by and just watch. She heard about a movement of moms starting to fight for gun violence prevention and picked up the phone to dial 888-989-MOMS, a call that landed her the job of statewide coordinator for the Million Mom March. For the next 9 months, she recruited bus captains and local organizers, spoke to police officers, emergency room doctors, prosecutors, clergy, PTO parents, elected officials and anyone else willing to stand up to fight for strengthening our national gun safety laws. Her leadership led to 80 buses and a charter Amtrak bound for Washington.

Deb at the Million Mom March with U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the Congresswoman Connie Morella (R-MD), & U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Driven to Protect her Community’s Most Vulnerable Members

Drawn to opportunities to benefit at-risk youth, Deb went to work for the Boys & Girls Club as Director of Community Engagement where she recruited mentors and tutors and raised funds to build a new youth development center. She also advocated for children as part of a statewide safe child consortium that provided services to low-income mothers to prevent child abuse and neglect.

When Deb’s two older children were in high school and her youngest, Ben, was in middle school, she unseated an outspoken Tea Partier on the Pennsbury School Board and is now serving in her second term. With many accomplishments including implementation of full day kindergarten across the district, her proudest moment on the board was voting to restore health benefits to families of the district’s lowest paid workers, a benefit they had lost in a heated contract concession with the previous board.

Deb advocating for common sense gun legislation while holding her daughter Anna, pictured here with Mayor Pam Mount.

Spent Her Career Advocating for Children & Families

Deb’s advocacy on behalf of children and families landed her in the position of chief fundraiser with The Peace Center, a nonprofit located in Bucks County that teaches children and adults skills in non-violent conflict resolution and how to stand up to bullying. With expressions of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim, and hateful acts directed at immigrants on a steep rise, her work has helped many people who are vulnerable find support in our local Bucks and Montgomery County communities.

Stunned by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, Deb couldn’t sit by silently and watch as the country was being torn apart by a president who made a sport out of dividing and insulting people, appealing to fear to build his base, and embarrassing Americans throughout the world. She joined a movement to take action, and co-founded Lower Bucks Indivisible, a local arm of a national grassroots campaign to resist the Trump agenda.

Deb speaking with Bucks County students about the challenges we face in our community.

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