Here is a bit more about me in response to the Ballotpedia Survey. The survey is quite long, so this is just Part 1. I will complete it later this week.
Who are you? Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less.
I am a teacher educator and recent graduate of the University of Central Florida where I studied the financial knowledge of future teachers for my dissertation. I’m 28 years old, a husband, father to a 10-month-old boy, and born and raised in Daytona Beach. I was formerly Republican as both of my parents are fervent Trump supporters, but became increasingly outraged by the terrible policies and attitudes we are seeing, as well as more understanding of the climate crisis, economic inequity, and issues of discrimination. My purpose in running for Florida’s 6th Congressional district is to get these important messages out there, mobilize the Democratic base in order to win the race, and to support whomever is the Democratic nominee for president in order to put the brakes on what will be seen as a dark chapter in American history. In Congress, I will fight corporate and special interests and advocate for the 99% on a host of issues.
Key Messages (Top 3)
Addressing the Climate Crisis
Restoring Congressional Authority
Strengthening the Affordable Care Act
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Most prominently the climate crisis, as we need to address this with legislative action. My support of the Green New Deal has already been heavily criticized, but what we have now is actually a cash grab for polluting corporations. Emissions that are not regulated or taxed are a subsidy. We don’t necessarily need carbon taxes, but just that polluters be required to take actions to be net carbon neutral. Of course, much of human activity now would be unprofitable if not for kicking the can down the road, and would have to be curtailed. My district just had a huge near-miss from Hurricane Dorian, the rapid intensification of which was fueled by hot ocean waters from the human-caused climate crisis. We know from scientific evidence that the increase from 0.03% to 0.04% of atmospheric CO2 is of HUGE consequence (even though it sounds small), and methane from fracking is a big problem too. Congress needs young people like me who will take leadership rather than bribes on this issue. As a father of a 10-month-old boy, I owe it to him to take action.
Addressing wealth inequity is another big problem. What we have now is like feudal times, and this is no accident (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010). The Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went straight to the wealthy, and is the greatest robbery in the history of our country. Just empowering the IRS with resources to enforce EXISTING tax laws against the wealthy would make a huge difference.
What is your campaign slogan?
I Once Was a Republican, But Now I Know Better
What was your very first job? How long did you have it?
As a teenager, my father illegally employed me for his under-the-table business cleaning kitchen exhaust systems in restaurants within the same Congressional district I am seeking election to. I would spray caustic chemicals to remove grease, clean grease traps, scrape dried and encrusted grease off filters, and go on the roof to secure and clean the fan unit.
As a 15-year old, my first legitimate paid employment was as a student worker at the Holly Hill Public Library (unfortunately, no longer exists). I helped many people with computers and technology including learning new skills, finding jobs, and I even taught a computer class to seniors consisting of three two-hour lessons.
What is the first historical event that happened in your lifetime that you remember? How old were you at the time?
As a 6-year-old I found the 1998 Florida wildfires terrifying. My father rigged up a pump to our swimming pool to hose down the tar-and-gravel roof on our 1958-built house as flaming embers rained down in our yard. The fires we now see in California and Australia are far worse, due to the climate crisis. The fossil-fuel funded Republicans and Labor Party cover their eyes, ears, and noses.
Who do you look up to? Whose example would you like to follow, and why?
As a financial educator I look up to Dr. Annamaria Lusardi for her leadership, research, and advocacy for financial literacy. We need strong financial education coupled with effective regulation that prevents Americans from being fleeced by predatory or misleading financial products and practices. Among politicians I look up to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for breaking the mould and showing that young people can attain higher office and make a (positive) difference. Claims of a socialist, welfare agenda are overstated. What we have now is plutocratic oligarchical welfare for privileged wealthy elites. I do advocate individuals like myself capturing a portion of this wealth through long-term investing in the stock market such as an S&P 500 index fund. Unfortunately, only about 50% of Americans actually do this, and for those who do it’s limited to retirement accounts. Just because the stock market is up does not mean the typical American benefits.
To be continued…