Ever since I was a young child, I grew up with the stories from my mother about her participation in the Civil Rights movement and how she met my father doing service work in East Appalachia. It is probably with no surprise then that I met my future wife, Danielle, while doing mission based service work in Las Vegas where we worked with after-school programming in a low income neighborhood together. Her spunk and her heart to serve others stood out to me and we joined forces together at the tender age of 21 and 20.
Over the course of our twelve years of marriage the one driving force that continues to binds us together is our commitment to each other and our commitment to building a better community wherever we lived. Life and purpose has flowed through our marriage whether its both of us doing community work as youth mentors, ESL instructors, or being active citizens in our community.
Commitment further expressed itself through the birth of our children. As a soon to be Dad, my wife and I enrolled in Bradley Method classes that taught me how to be an active partner and coach in the birth of our children. Both of our kids were water births at a midwife center and I even had the experience of catching my second born in the water after he exited the birth canal. As both of my children continue grow, I often think back to these first moments in their lives in why I am so connected to my kids as a father.
I decided to enter the world of politics and seek office because of the commitments to my family and to my hope of building a stronger community for my kids. For me, this is not about party politics or putting on a fake smile, but for me it genuine desire and care to make a positive change in our community. I have spent the last 12 years being an involved member of a community through service and participation and now I am asking for your vote in November to work for you and make this community a great place to live and work. Sign up to join me here.
I decided to run for the Putnam County Council District #3 seat because I believe as a father of two young children and a husband of 12+ years, I want to contribute and shape a positive future for everyone around me. Here are some of the ideas I have for building stronger communities.
1) Continue to Invest in Education
As a father of two young children who are both at Ridpath Elementary, I know firsthand how hard our teachers work everyday and I also see how our public schools often serve as a place to build community. Our kids make some of their first friends in their classroom and after school they can connect with others through programs like Spanish Enrichment or Girl Scouts. For parents, this is also a way that we get to know each other whether its through something like participating on a field trip or attending Dad's Day and Tuesday with Teachers. Over the last few budgets that have gone through our State Legislatures office, our county has continued to see a decrease in public funds while our tax dollars subsidize charter education in the big cities. When elected, I will serve as bridge from our school system to our elected leaders to advocate for the funds our county deserves.
2) Build on the Strength's of our Community
Think about what makes a great community to you. What makes those experiences unique and full of life? For my family we love being outside and being active. We are constantly meeting people at the dog park, on First Fridays, on nature hikes, and at all the local parks. I want to build on the strengths in this community that already exist and help them grow from good to great. I want to see more of our businesses connecting to the digital economy that can help build constant contact with their customers and increase revenue. I want to watch things like First Fridays, Farmers Markets, 5ks, Parkfest, and Taste of Putnam continue to grow and engage more people in this county and continue to move from being good to great.
3) Don't Shy From the Hard Stuff
I have recently attended both an opiate panel in which my wife served as a panelist and a Community Conversation sponsored by the League of Women Voters with the Police and Fire Chiefs. While our community has a lot of positive attributes going for it, there are also some tough issues going on in the community including our meth problem and the increase in cases by the Department of Children Services. When elected, I will not shy away from these hard pressing issues and will work diligently with community stakeholders to address these problems to identify the core root to why these issues continue to emerge and grow in our community. I believe that if we invest in the public health of a community upfront this will reduce the costs down the road associated with criminal behavior.
When the county invests in the community, the community makes a great county. Let's all continue to work together #PrioritizePutnam and build #StrongerCommunities.