Who am I?
As a Naval Academy Graduate and Navy veteran of 24 years, my calling closely followed my fathers career as a Navy helicopter test pilot. I have had the pleasure of serving our Nation around the world, from Beirut to Bosnia, where I assisted NATO Commander Gen. Wes Clark in the effort to establish peace between warring factions. My career was cut short after doctors diagnosed me with lung cancer related to the use of depleted Uranium in the gulf. The doctors told me I had merely a handful of months before my life would end, yet through personal perseverance and the endless of love of my wife and children, I was able to overcome my battle with cancer. Subsequently, I became a cancer outreach advocate, sharing my experience with others while providing an example of hope for those who are still fighting the deadly disease.
My family and I settled down in Corning New York almost ten years ago, where I worked at Corning Inc. before joining the U.S. House Armed Services Committee to assist in the oversight of Naval construction and procurement. After Congress debated and agreed to the Presidents faulty justification for invading the country of Iraq in 2003, I left my post on the Committee in protest of that mistake, which I knew " even before the invasion began - had to be challenged.
When my former boss, General Wes Clark, sought the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 2004, I jumped on board and became a Senior Advisor to his campaign. That experience, coupled with my past in the Navy and in the Congress, compelled me to become a Congressional Candidate in New Yorks 29th District in order to re-establish credibility and accountability to the federal government.
Why am I running?
It is our duty and responsibility to pass on a Nation as secure and honorable as the proud country we inherited from my parents. When I look at my kids, Justin and Alexandra, I see the burden of the grave mistakes of our present leaders weighing on their futures. The security of our economy is not clear and becomes more in question every day. American jobs are sent to overseas, and access to health care is more difficult and more expensive than ever before. The deficit, fueled by tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and unrelenting government spending, has created a true toddler tax of over $27,000 dollars for every new child born in this nation. We are failing to secure the future for our children and I want to turn that around.
My three primary issues are the war in Iraq, the loss of American jobs, and the lack of affordable healthcare in America.
The Iraq War is a bill of goods sold to the American people on the basis of misinformation and political posturing, and we need to remember how we got into this terrible mess in order to get out of it. As a former Navy officer, I know that the current administration is not listening to the commanders on the ground and we need to leave as soon as possible. This begins by standing up and saying "we're leaving and we're starting right now."
For six years, the Republican Congress gave away enormous tax cuts to multi-millionaires and corporations while encouraging Free Trade agreements that are free to everyone except the American working class. What America needs is Fair Trade that stimulates innovation and creates jobs. Its time to stop rewarding corporate executives who eagerly trade the livelihood of thousands of working Americans for the profits from overseas trade.
As a cancer survivor, I know what it's like to face a life or death medical situation. Fortunately, I was covered by the V.A., but I earned an appreciation for the difficulty that millions of American families face in similar situations without health insurance. Healthcare should not be treated as a commodity to sell and profit from, and I believe that a universal, single-payer system would solve this immense burden on our Nations families by changing the way we fund healthcare.
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
First and foremost, this is a grassroots campaign. During the last cycle, we had thousands of volunteers flooding the streets with campaign materials, phone banking every night, and spreading the word about our campaign. We are a campaign that's of, by and for the people, and there is truly no more humbling experience than feeling the passion of your volunteers every day.
Our campaign is probably the most bottom-up one in the nation. Because I am, as far as I know, the only candidate in the entire nation who rejects corporate PAC contributions, I owe everything to our grassroots activists. I work directly with members of the community to help create change in our area and empower voters to take action, not just in the voting booth, but in the streets.
Our volunteer/field program will be incredibly inclusive and we want to make grassroots organizing a top priority in this campaign. As such, we will have volunteer coordinators all over the district, many of whom I hope to pull from DFA, and we are going to make our presence felt all across the district.