DeFranco was born and raised in Erie, Pa., the daughter of a physician and a nurse.
She attended the University of Dayton and Dublin’s Trinity College before earning her law degree from Suffolk University in Boston. She’s lived in Middleton for nine years.
DeFranco’s been running an immigration law practice for nearly two decades and said her experience as a small-business owner informed two of her campaign’s central goals — cutting all government subsidies for corporations and instituting tax breaks for small businesses.
“We, as taxpayers, are subsidizing large corporations and, meanwhile, trying to run our businesses on Main Street,” said DeFranco, who actually runs her practice out of an office on Main Street in Middleton. “As everyone knows, that’s where real job creation happens.”
Another focal point for DeFranco is immigration. She said she might differ from other Democrats in that she supports a “path to legalization, not a path to citizenship.” She thinks an immigration bill recently touted by both Democratic and Republican senators is flawed.
“The Gang of Eight bill doesn’t get it right by a mile,” she said. “It’s very big-business heavy, lobbyist heavy. It’s not going to do anything to alleviate immigration issues or ... help small businesses.”
The problem is that there are two sides to the immigration debate, Defranco said: People who want to “deport everybody,” and others who want to “give everybody citizenship in the next five years.”
“Frankly, they’re both delusional,” she said.
DeFranco said the best way to deal with immigration is to find the middle ground. She supports bolstering border and port security and then establishing a path to green cards for undocumented immigrants living in the country — even if that path takes 10 to 15 years to travel.
“We are a nation of immigrants, yes, but we are also a nation of laws,” she said. “Citizenship is not a given.”