I grew up in a little town outside of Flint, Michigan. My dad ran a trucking/logistics company with my grandpa, and my mom mostly raised myself and my sister. As my sister and I got older, my mom went back to school, eventually becoming a teacher in Flint, then a teacher and principal at a local Catholic school.
Education was always extremely important in our household. Around us, we could see weakness in the Flint economy, and working at the local GM plant never really felt like an option. Furthermore, I was ALWAYS the one to ask questions. “Why?” is, and was, one of my most-used phrases, much to the dismay of many.
School became a place where I learned to stand up to bullies. One day, I got into a fight at school, protecting a friend of mine from an older bully. This led to a suspension, and my dad was forced to take me home from school. At the time, my dad was this big, scary dude, and I was concerned that I’d be in serious trouble. Instead, he said, “You did the right thing. Never back down from bullies, and protect your friends.” This proved to be a theme.
I spent much of my time in high school on a variety of volunteer projects, working with a local vet, with my mom’s school, and never really took the time to decide what to do with my career. I chose to start a path in veterinary medicine. I love animals, enjoyed my volunteer work, and wanted to make a difference in the world. It seemed to make sense.
As I started college, it became VERY obvious to me that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I struggled to focus in school, and eventually dropped out, much to the chagrin of my parents..
I spent the better part of two years in a serious funk. I grew up always being busy, and yet I couldn’t figure out what I wanted. Many nights I considered suicide. Fortunately, I never made an attempt. (BTW, there are MANY resources out there for those that are struggling. Call 800-273-8255 if you, or someone you know is struggling.)
Eventually, I got a job at a retailer I’ll leave nameless, as they’re irrelevant to, well… life. I saw how management treated workers, sometimes locking employees inside for hours, unpaid. That anti-bullying feeling came back again, and I repeatedly spoke out to management about their abusive practices. Eventuallly I left, throwing a pizza party for my coworkers and speaking to many about finding other work, where the conditions weren’t such trash.
I went to work for a local credit union. I worked my way from teller to manager, even helping teach banking skills to high school students, helping them to understand the work. I loved that job, and the ability to help the public better understand their money.
During this time, I also met my favorite person in the world, my wife Nancy. We married in 2008, then moved east to New Hampshire in 2009, where I continued my career in banking.
Eventually it became clear that the things I wanted to do in life, both for myself, and for us as a young family, would require me to go back to school. I graduated from Sotuhern New Hampshire University in 2013, and did well enough that Indiana University accepted me into their MBA/MS Program. From there, I got to do all sorts of amazing work, with my favorite being a consulting trip to Palestine. Read about my time in Bethlehem HERE.
Upon completion of my MBA, I had job choices to make. I just got into a fair bit of debt, and clearly I needed to be able to pay for it. I wound up applying to work at Bank of America. Now remember my credit union days? I regularly sold against big banks like them, and knew most of the customer horror stories. But I had to know… could I help make it better?
I eventually found a role I loved in the people devlopment space, doing analytics work. I wanted to better understand and build out the way that people progress in their career at the bank. I knew the work could be applied in broad areas, helping people of all kinds identify their strengths, get the training or education they needed to succed, then move forward for the betterment of all.
Like many of you, I was concerned about the popularity that Donald Trump seemed to be gaining in 2015. I was confident our country would make a better choice, but to see him gain such traction was admittedly disheartening. Then the worst happened… that hateful, small, disgusting excuse for a man got elected.
I don’t like the spotlight. I’m 6’7′ and a large man, and I’ve always been happier when eyes weren’t on me. I’m not a politician. But remember how I don’t respond favorably to bullies? That will literally never change..
I’m looking to help fight back against the fascist faction of the Republican Party. To fight for a fairer, more equitable country. To fight for workers who have put EVERYTHING on the line so that a handful of wealthy people can fly off to space in their penis rockets. To fight for our kids, so that they can learn, and maybe relearn how to do they things they want to do in this world. To fight climate change, while the hills literally burn around me as I type. To fight for health care for all, because dammit, ALL OF US NEED IT.
I’m here, for one more fight. For California. For America. For the best in all of us. Because we can, and will, do better.
“Punk Rock Means Exemplary Manners To Your Fellow Human Beings” – Joe Strummer
The punk community was decades ahead of the general public on many significant social issues, including:
Some of the most educated thinkers in music come from the genre, including.