Why Am I Here?
On January 6th, 2020, I sat at home watching the attempted violent overthrow of our democracy. An attempt to change the outcome of a federal election, one of over 100 this country has conducted since its inception. Instead of hearing from our representative about the nature of this insurrection and a protest against it, and hours later was one of 147 Republicans who attempted to overturn the results based on claims that have been to be meritless by numerous court decisions. Then when the Republicans voted behind closed does to remove Liz Cheney from her leadership position, I wrote our representative expecting him to be transparent and tell me how he voted. The response I received was a non-answer. 30 years is enough. Federal politics should not be a career. I have always believed in Theodore Roosevelt's "In the Arena" speech. Instead of complaining, I am going to try and do something about it. I want to give voters in our district a choice between the far-right and far-left politics of the other candidates in this race. I appreciate the 30 years of service our current representative has given as much as I appreciate the efforts of those Democrats and Republicans before me who also stepped into the arena. I believe we all have more in common than our differences. Our differences and diversity is what allows us to move forward. While we might have philosophical differences in our politics, when dealt with in a peaceful and respectful manner, we can be friends and not enemies. We all want our country to succeed. I want to stop the fear mongering, name calling, lies, and distractions. We are not going to stop the talking heads we see on TV or online stoking those traits. I believe I am just like the majority of you, what Richard Nixon called the "silent majority" who are just tired of the BS and want to see government start working for us again, and not themselves.
Don't Vote for Me...
If you want more years of inaction by congress, I'm not the person you should vote for. I can't guarantee that I can change things being only one of 438 representatives, but I want to try. If you are looking for someone based on the letter after their name, I'm not the person you should vote for. If you are looking for someone leaning far-right or far-left, I'm not the person you should vote for. If you think we need to be led by Authoritarian or Totalitarian leadership styles, I'm not the person you should vote for. If your representative needs to be a millionaire, I'm definitely not the person you should vote for. If you are looking at who someone has been endorsed by, I'm not the person you should vote for. If you cannot love your country for what it is, the diversity it has, the opportunities it provides, but only for what you believe in, without respect for these attributes, I'm not the person you should vote for. My Morals, Support, Issues, and What Pisses Me Off pages tell you about me. I respect if you disagree but if you do not like me for my views and cannot reconcile with yourself to accept that we have differences but can still work together, I'm not the person you should vote for.
Let Me Tell You About Myself
I am like many of you. I am a second generation American. My grandparents migrated from Mexico to California and Texas. Both of my parents were Navy veterans and World War II veterans. My father served over 20 years and retired. I was born in Long Beach after his service, so I was not a military brat, though we benefitted from the services available to retired service members. I was reared in Buena Park and attended public K-12 schools in Buena Park and Anaheim. I delivered newspapers 7 days a week in my neighborhood during my early teens. My first real job where I had to clock in and out was as a busboy at IHOP. I was fired from this job for calling sick to work so I could get tickets to the Angel's first ever American League playoff appearance in 1979. Being a C- student in high school, I did not believe I was smart enough for college. At 17 I got my parents' permission and early enlisted in the Navy. My test scores were not good enough to qualify for nuclear power training but they were high enough for advanced electronics. I wanted to do aviation electronics but I could not be guaranteed there would be openings after boot camp. But I could be guaranteed communications electronics if I volunteered for submarines. Imagine the surprise from my father, a WWII vet, when I came home and told him I volunteered for nuclear submarine duty. To him, submarines were the "pig boats" of WWII that were ships that occasionally sunk and had the highest fatality rate per capita of any service during WWII. I proudly served six years training and was part of the commissioning crew of the USS Buffalo. At 20 years old I met and got a chance to talk with a Republican that, to this day, to me is the epitome of what the party used to be. Jack Kemp attended the ceremony with his wife Joan who sponsored the ship. We were homeported at Pearl Harbor and I did numerous tactical and strategic patrols, that for some, to this day I still cannot talk about. In 1986 my father got to ride on my boat as we returned to Pearl from Maui. My station was on the bridge with the captain and conning officer. I got to invite my father up to the bridge as we were entering the harbor. Imagine his excitement as a WWII Navy vet sitting atop the bridge of one of our country's newest nuclear submarines as we neared the Arizona memorial and entered the piers at the submarine base. I still get teary eyed. I love that story and he loved telling it. After the Navy I married, moved back to California, and had 2 daughters. I worked in aerospace starting at the bottom and over 20 years, working my way up the corporate ladder. Though my work was not much unlike that of my college educated co-workers, I was consistently told "we know you can do the job but we can't pay you more without your degree". In my 40's I didn't think I was smart enough but I wanted to use myself as an example for my daughters. If I could work, have a family, and go to school, they should be able to handle school alone without the complaints. I was surprised at once started, I was not as dumb as I thought I was. I received an Associate's degree as an honor's student. But around this time I also experienced a divorce. My kids were with my ex in Hawaii and I was living with my parents. I was at a low and was slowly wasting away in a bottle. Meeting the right person, my significant other Monica, swung my life around in a new direction. With her encouragement, i applied for a business program at Pepperdine University. I really didn't expect to get in but to my surprise I was accepted. Going from the bottle to the books, I again had to struggle with work, a new home in Corona, my job near LAX, and Monica pregnant with our child. I surprised myself again by the grades I continued to receive. I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in 2008, 45 years old and the top of my class as a Magna Cum Laude graduate. I continued at Pepperdine receiving my MBA in 2011 and a Certificate in Dispute Resolution from the Strauss Institute at Pepperdine Law School, the top dispute resolution program in the country. It was soon after this, and a $150,000 investment in my education by my employer of 20+ years, that I was laid off in 2012. While I thought that now having an MBA, a BS Magna Cum Laude, 20+ years of experience, and being a veteran, that getting another job would be a cake walk. I was never so wrong. Over the next year and a half, countless job applications, and many interviews, I was barely surviving on unemployment. At one point, my bank account had less than a dollar with no money coming in. In 2014 I started a contract job and since, I've had contract jobs with a 1-year employed position in between. In each job I have exceeded expectations and for 2 have been requested to return after the contract was over. At one point while struggling to find full-time employment, I was advised to remove my MBA from my resume. It would be more sellable. If it wasn't my perception that perhaps I was experiencing age discrimination, it was clearly my perception that employers wanted a person with an MBA but didn't want to pay for it. It was also during this time I nearly lost my house having been unable to make payments while unemployed. I filed for bankruptcy and cleared my debts and was able to keep the house. Monica and I have been together for 15 years and I still haven't proposed. She has been very patient. Our son is now a teenager. I'm still working a contract job that I've been at for 3 years now. While running this campaign for the primary on my own dime, my employer is allowing me to do some part-time work. This is keeping bills paid until after the June primary where either I am going to be going back to work full-time, or working on my biggest challenge after this primary, which is trying to unseat a 30-year, Trump endorsed, incumbent. As my story tells, I'm much like many of you who struggle daily, living paycheck-to-paycheck, who is tired of the bullshit and wants someone who will try to represent everyone, regardless of party. I need your vote!
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."