I grew up in a working class family in the rural Midwest. My dad worked highway construction and my mom was a public school teacher. We lived in an agricultural community – I spent my summers detassling corn and walking beans. On Sundays, we’d go to church and then have a potluck with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
My parents instilled in me the importance of faith, hard work, and public service, which is why I sought out military service. After graduating from the University of Illinois, I earned a commission in the United States Marine Corps. I had no idea that would be the beginning of a 20-year career, where I would deploy routinely overseas, culminating in several senior staff roles where I’d provide counsel to numerous military leaders, including the Secretary of Defense.
I was also fortunate to meet my wife in the Corps. Angie, a fellow Marine and self-proclaimed Michigan ambassador, has deep roots in Northern Michigan and the UP. She grew up in L’Anse and Kalkaska; she passed her passion for our part of Michigan on to me. When I retired from active duty, there was no doubt that we wanted to return home to raise our two sons in Michigan.
Since leaving the Corps, my career has led me to exciting projects in the television and film industry. But I have had a nagging feeling that I could be doing more to help my community. Public service was calling, and I knew that I need to answer.
I believe the purpose of government is to provide for the common good. Yet this foundational principle, set down by our Nation’s founders in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, is too often lost in today’s bitter political climate. I know there are many citizens, like me, who want politicians to have the courage to set aside partisan politics and truly represent their interests. As your Democratic candidate for Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, I will do just that. I’ve fought for our country’s freedoms overseas, now I want to fight for our way of life. We work too hard for what we have. We deserve better.