Who am I?
I have always lived in central Virginia, and have been fortunate to have family, friends, neighbors and colleagues whose commitment to civic improvement have helped to shape how I see my own role in the community. They don’t just give back, they give more.
Making my district and state a better place to live has always been my goal. But goals are nothing without the will to turn thought into action. That’s why when I saw a chance to aid my community on the Goochland County Board of Supervisors, I launched my campaign and won the seat. I served on the Board for eight years, three of them as Chair. It was my commitment to sensible, pragmatic problem-solving, not petty ideological squabbles that resulted in progress for our county.
In addition to my work on the Board of Supervisors, I have also served on the Goochland Planning Commission (also with a stint as Chair), and played a major role in writing our county’s annual community plan. I was appointed by Gov. Tim Kaine to the Emergency Medical Advisory Board, where I was instrumental in developing protocols for emergency medical initiatives for the entire Commonwealth. In addition, I was a Board member on both the Capital Region Workforce Partnership Consortium and the Goochland Recreational Center Committee.
My work within the community has been very rewarding. However, any public servant worth his or her salt will tell you that committees and politics are only catalysts for instigating the actual, lasting changes that Virginians need. For me, it has always come back to the importance of education. My own education was key to building a life that enables me to accomplish goals for myself, my family and my community.
I earned my degree in Chemistry and Biology from Virginia Union University and immediately put my education to work, teaching science in public schools in both the City of Richmond and Louisa County. Through teaching and serving as the Vice President of the Goochland Education Foundation, I quickly learned that education is the great leveler. Regardless of economic standing or social impediments, a good education means more opportunities, better jobs and increased financial independence.
Following my time as a public school teacher, I began working at North Anna Nuclear Power Station as a Supervisor and Instructor of Nuclear Chemistry. Currently, I own a training company, through which I conduct training in management and in safety and security for nuclear power plants, and I also help the North Anna Power Plant in processing new employees for outage work.
I am a teacher, an instructor, an elected official, a public servant, a community leader and a proud husband, father and grandfather. And now I look forward to serving the people of the 65th as their Delegate.
Why am I running?
The extreme factions of the Republican Party have been setting the agenda for us for far too long. And whether they fully agree with this radical agenda or not, the Republican Caucus in Richmond has willingly fallen in line with their leadership.
Lee Ware is one such politician. He may not be as rowdy as some of his fellow Republicans, but his voting record speaks volumes. And what I see at play is an ideology dedicated to restricting people’s rights based on a narrow world view; the kind of world view that excludes many of the good citizens of our district and state.
Virginia has become the butt of jokes on late-night TV due to the Republican-supported policies that have severely restricted voting rights, women’s rights and civil rights in the Commonwealth. Be it unnecessarily invasive transvaginal ultrasounds, discriminatory voter ID regulations or any other bill concocted by the General Assembly, Lee Ware has quietly and discreetly voted in lockstep with his more vocal Republican colleagues. But silent approval is still approval.
And I couldn’t stand by while this took place. So I decided to run.
The good news is that none of this legislation is permanent and none of the damage done is irreversible. We can turn this district and this state around if we replace those legislators who are more interested in party than people, starting with Lee Ware. Virginians deserve better, and I am dedicated to representing them as a vocal partner, not a silent one.
In recent years, the Republicans in the General Assembly have undone much of the progress that has been made in Virginia over the past few decades, particularly with respect to voters’ rights and women’s rights.
With this is mind, during my first year in office, I aim to introduce and support legislation that would first reverse, and then improve, the status of women and the voting public in the Commonwealth.
The changes that have already been made and the changes currently proposed to Virginia’s voter ID laws are “solutions” in search of a problem. We should be making it easier for people to vote, not establishing legal impediments that make it harder. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell was prepared to ease the current lifetime voting ban on non-violent felons who have served their sentences. But this legislature, with support from Lee Ware, quickly blocked these changes. Instead, they instituted additional ID requirements, promising further changes if they have their way. I will support reversing these unwieldy restrictions and instituting policies that enable more voters to get to the polls, not fewer.
Perhaps even more egregious though has been the concerted Republican attack on women’s rights. Unfortunately, the idea that women ought to be able to make their own healthcare decisions is still seen as radical by many in the state legislature. This is why it is crucial that we finally bring common sense back to the table. No legislator should have the right or the ability to restrict a woman’s constitutional right to choose her own healthcare. In this last session for instance, legislators prohibited the sale of health insurance policies that cover all of the legal options for reproductive medical care. Ironically, this extreme agenda has become so central to Republican ideology that even those vehemently opposed to government intrusion have invited the government to intrude upon a woman’s most personal healthcare decisions.
We simply cannot allow this to happen.
When elected, I will offer my full support for legislation that treats women as the equal adults that they are, not the second class citizens so many Republicans want them to be.
But we must also remember that legislation is not created in a vacuum. I am fully prepared to work with both Republicans and Democrats to achieve these important policy goals. We are called upon to find common ground and seek compromise while still holding true to our core principles. And I will do no less.
My DFA Values
I believe that community is more than a just population who reside in a particular area. It’s more than a geographic shorthand for city or town. At its most basic, a community is a group of people with a shared responsibility to one another. But more than that, the support of a community make both security and liberty possible.
As Americans, as Virginians and as residents of the 65th district, we should be able to expect a reasonable measure of security in certain areas: our careers, our healthcare, our finances and our education. That means it is our job as community leaders to make sure that all children have a solid start in life, all adults have an opportunity to earn a living and provide for their families, and that everyone has access to the safety net when times get tough. This also means establishing an effective, efficient structure to care for our old people without bankrupting our young people. This is no easy task, but if we’re serious about leading, we need to believe that progress is possible.
Of course, a given community’s security is strengthened only by its commitment to liberty. Without the freedom to take chances, to make choices and to determine for ourselves our own destiny, security is just another word. My campaign is dedicated to the proposition that this is also true of government. Government doesn’t have to be intrusive to be effective, and it doesn’t have to be overbearing to be a force for good.
My campaign is dedicated to the values of community, security and liberty. When we elect people who will represent these values, we are demanding the best of our representatives, and I intend to rise to the challenge.
My Campaign is People Powered!
Before I ever started this campaign, I spoke to many people and - more important - I listened to their ideas. And I continue to listen. Every call I make, every person I meet helps determine what my campaign and my term as Delegate will be.
Already, a core group of volunteers is working to help the campaign get established, and to recruit more volunteers. The campaign team and I are going to talk to as many voters as we can possibly reach, and that will take a lot of people, spreading the word to their friends and neighbors.
We are, and will be knocking on doors, making phone calls, attending county fairs and generally going where the voters go so we can talk to them - face to face whenever possible. I can't do this alone. But with the help of supporters, voters, donors and citizens like you who have already pledged their help, we can make the 65th a place we are proud to call home.