A little about who I am and where I came from…
Well, I’m not really sure where to begin. I’m 30 years old and I come from a pretty typical working/middle class background. My parents are very loving, caring, and supportive people. My mother was a cashier at Walmart for around 20 years and my father did factory work and filled vending machines until he was injured at work. They now operate a small home business together selling things on eBay & Amazon.
As for me, well, I’ve been passionate about progressive politics for over half my life. I was 13 years old when 9/11 happened and the response from the Bush administration was what first inspired me to really learn about what was going on in the world. I started participating in demonstrations against the wars and in support of gay marriage, reproductive rights, and civil liberties in general. Almost immediately after graduating from high school, the entire economy collapsed and the world was suddenly on the brink of another Great Depression. The government’s reaction to that situation inspired me to learn and study even more about what was going on in the world. I started participating in demonstrations against corporate greed and in support of universal healthcare, campaign finance reform, and environmental causes that would protect our planet from those who would destroy it for profit.
I decided not to go to college because the prospect of taking on so much debt for such a long time in such a volatile and unpredictable economy was very unappealing to me. Instead, I went to work and applied my knowledge of technology and computer systems to eventually become the IT Manager of a small community banking franchise. I saved every single penny I could and invested all of it into some of America’s largest technology companies. Over time, those investments grew to a point where I could sell my shares and do what I do now – focus primarily on progressive politics while still occasionally delivering packages for Amazon to pay the bills.
One of the most unfair aspects of our political system is that people essentially have to already be financially secure to run a competitive campaign. We need to publicly finance our elections to help combat this incredibly serious problem, but I do consider myself very fortunate to be in a position where I can realistically dedicate the amount of time and energy to this campaign that is required to pull off a victory.
In 2015, Bernie Sanders inspired me to seriously consider running for office for the first time ever. He was the first politician that really made me feel like a political revolution – where thousands of people run for office all over the country and actually take back our government and make it work for the people – was possible. Ever since Bernie’s 2016 primary campaign, I’ve been extremely passionate about progressive politics in general and specifically interested in running for a US House seat on a truly progressive platform that I feel would create a society that works for ALL of us.
So, that pretty much brings us to where we are now! I’m 30 years old, I live a bit north of Denver with a couple of roommates to keep expenses reasonable, I’m a computer nerd, I’m addicted to learning new things, and my biggest political influences & inspirations to get involved and try to make things better are Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Why did I run as a Progressive Republican in 2016?
A question I’m frequently asked is: “You ran as a Republican in Missouri in 2016. Since everyone knows there is no such thing as a Progressive Republican, what has changed about your political views in the last three years?”
The answer to that question is simple. Nothing has changed about my platform, ideas, or politics over the last three years – the only difference is where I live. I think that both major parties in this country have been taken over by corporate sellouts that are far more interested in doing what their campaign donors want than listening to the American people. Neither party truly deserves our support.
Yes, I ran in Missouri as a Bernie-Sanders-endorsing, ultra-progressive Republican because, like in many other states throughout the nation, the corrupt political party that dominates Missouri’s political apparatus has used their enormous influence to make the state’s congressional districts completely uncompetitive in favor of their own party.
I ran then on the same progressive platform I’m running on now – Campaign Finance Reform, Universal/Single-Payer Healthcare, Tuition-Free Public Colleges & Universities, Raising The Minimum Wage, Ending The Wars… – and I did it with the message that, even though it may seem like it, I don’t believe there’s any rule that says a Republican candidate isn’t allowed to fight for the things the American people actually want.
So, the quick summary is that Bernie Sanders inspired me to run for office, but I was living in a deep red state with institutionalized favoritism for Republican candidates built into every step of the political process at the time, so I ran as a Bernie-Sanders-endorsing, ultra-progressive Republican so I could actually have the opportunity to have my voice heard. I don’t respect the Republican Party or “conservative” political ideology at all. But I also don’t respect the brand of corporatism that has infected nearly the entire Democratic Party at all either.
I understand how this strategy could initially come off as opportunistic or potentially disingenuous, but I would only see it that way if my platform, ideas, views, and goals changed to whatever was needed at the time and place to win an election. That is definitely not the case at all. I simply ran as a Progressive Republican in a state where the entire political process is designed to favor Republicans.
All of this is a perfect example of why it’s so important to elect politicians that are committed to reforming the electoral and political process. Candidates shouldn’t be essentially forced to align with morally bankrupt political parties just to have a fair chance at running a competitive campaign. The truth is, I don’t respect or admire either of the major political parties in our country and I don’t really care what letter happens to be next to my name. I care about big progressive reforms that would help create a more fair, equal, and just society.
Why did I decide to move to Colorado?
The story of what brought me to Colorado is a pretty simple one. I was inspired to get directly involved in politics during Bernie’s first presidential primary campaign and, as I mentioned a moment ago, ran as an ultra-progressive Republican in a deep red state just to have a chance to have my voice heard.
That experience inspired me to try to find a place in the United States that shared my values and felt more like home for someone like me. I did a bit of research on the economic, political, and natural aspects of America’s major cities and found that Denver offered an unbeatable mixture of vibrance, culture, diversity, prosperity, natural beauty, and – of course – passionate progressive activists.
I absolutely love it here in Colorado. Having moved here from a place that is culturally, economically, and politically the exact opposite, I must say I feel incredibly blessed every single day to live in a state as amazing as ours. Colorado truly feels like home to me, and I hope to have the opportunity to earn the support and trust of everyone else lucky enough to call Colorado their home.
What inspired me to run for this seat against Rep. Ed Perlmutter?
What makes me different than Ed (and the vast majority of the rest of our elected officials) is that I am a true progressive with an absolute commitment to driving corporate influence out of our political process/institutions and building a society that actually works for ALL of the American People.
I support a wide variety of ambitious progressive policy reforms, but my primary goal as an elected official will be to generate and foster support for a movement – here in Colorado and throughout the nation – for a campaign finance reform amendment to the US Constitution that would overturn Citizen’s United and allow us to put into place absolutely critical regulations on the campaign finance system. This is so incredibly important to me because I believe that it’s going to be nearly impossible to create the kind of healthcare system, economic system, criminal justice system, education system, immigration system, and environmental protection system that we want to build without first loosening the grip that corporations have on our political process.
I will be an enthusiastic and outspoken supporter of big progressive policies that will significantly improve the lives of millions of Americans. Policies like Medicare For All, tuition-free public colleges and universities, universal child care, guaranteed paid family and medical leave, raising the minimum wage, strengthening social security, and The Green New Deal. And I will stand against wars, violence, bigotry, sexism, xenophobia, and racism – including the institutionalized racism that has plagued America since its inception. This disgusting and ignorant ideology has recently been on full display – especially in our criminal justice and immigration systems – which is why it’s so incredibly important for the millions of Americans and other people throughout the world who are being hurt and oppressed by our government that we fight back and elect representatives that actually care about what people want and need, not about what corporations have paid them to care about.
I don’t want to spend much time talking negatively about Rep. Ed Perlmutter. My goal is to do that as little as possible. The main difference between the two of us is pretty simple: I’m much more progressive and “further to the left” than Ed is. There are many issues where Ed and I agree with each other completely and entirely. When we do have our differences, it’s usually because I don’t believe Ed’s suggestions go far enough.
I believe we need a representative that’s going to take a more aggressive stand against corporations and the corrupt political parties. I believe we need a representative that will fight harder for a nationwide movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizen’s United. I believe we need a representative that will passionately support ambitious ideas like Medicare For All, tuition-free colleges and universities, universal child care, and guaranteed paid family and medical leave. So, I decided to run for US House in Colorado’s 7th district because I know without a doubt that I will be a representative that does just that.