Who am I?
I am the youngest of seven kids and the first of my family to graduate from college. I grew up in Texas, but I now live in Etna with my partner of 20 years, Dr. Robert Duff, and our two daughters, Emma and Grace. My girls are my inspiration.
In my professional career, I earned a CPA license, an MBA in international business, a law degree and admission into three state bars. I have clerked for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and worked at two national law firms. I also serve on the board of directors for Child and Family Services, the Legislative Committee for the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and as moderator for my family's parish, the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College.
Given my experience with the law (and, dare I say, my passion for the subject), I tend to get drawn into issues where that knowledge is particularly useful. For example, I have put a great deal of effort into fighting the recent voter ID laws, not only because I believe that our democracy depends on this most basic right, but because I feel my voice--with my education and experience--is one that needs to be heard.
Why am I running?
I have always been interested in politics, but for a long time it seemed like running for office was something that would always be out of my reach. So, I have to admit that part of this is the simple truth, that this is something I've wanted to do since I was a kid.
But, if I were to answer the question, "Why now?" I would say that it is because of my girls. I have two elementary-aged daughters, and many of the issues hitting the legislature right now will greatly affect their futures. For example, I want my daughters to grow up in a state that respects their right to make their own health care decisions. I want my daughters to grow up in a state that provides not just a basic education, but an excellent education, one that will prepare them to meet ambitious goals and fulfill their dreams. I want Emma and Grace to grow up in a state that respects the civil rights of all its citizens, from voting rights to marriage equality. I want them to grow up in a state with breathable air, drinkable water, and a starry night sky.
I have been in the New Hampshire House for six years. I believe that District 5, as one of the few solidly Democratic districts in the state, needs a state senator with experience standing up to the radical Republican agenda. I believe I am that candidate.
The first thing I am going to do is work to overturn the Photo ID law that will take effect in 2013. The voters I have spoken to on the campaign trail are outraged and concerned about what this could mean for New Hampshire, if we allow this disenfranchisement to take place. I worked extremely hard to protect the voting rights of college students, and I promise to do what is necessary to protect the rights of those who are unable to obtain government IDs.
I proposed a bill when I was in the NH House to expand broadband access, so as to provide a more inviting business environment. I will continue to work on common sense solutions, such as this one, so that we can create jobs and grow the economy.
Bolstering our commitment to education in NH is essential to this plan. Our representatives voted to slash the UNH budget by 50%, reduce the high school dropout age to 16, eliminate kindergarten and abandon the states
constitutional responsibility to fund our public schools. I worked with other Democrats in the NH House to try to stop this war on public education because I know the value of an education. I am the youngest of seven kids but the first in my family to go to college and graduate school. I am the father of two school-age daughters who wants the best for them. For me, this is personal.
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
In the primary race, I organized town captains to secure vote pledges in each town. Ideally, I would like to meet every person who votes for me--they are asking me to commit to our shared values, and I would like to hear what every one of them has to say about the issues they care about. Since this is not possible, I decided that outreach from someone in their town would give voters an opportunity to make a personal connection.
My town captains took initiative and decided how best to handle their own town's list of voters. In Lebanon, the town captain decided that hand-signed postcards would be better for that particular list of people. So a group of firefighters met at the local pub to write notes on postcards and send them to their neighbors. This was one of the high-points of the campaign, to be in a room with so many great guys who were all too happy to make that direct connection on my behalf. For my part, I did everything I could to help the town captain make and print the postcard. I took on the financial and logistical burdens so that our team of volunteers could really enjoy writing notes to their neighbors.
I think the most important thing about a grassroots campaign is knowing when to give support and direction to give to your co-workers (I think of them more as co-workers than volunteers), and when to let them take the reins.