KC City Council Primary Election is April 2, 2019

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

KC City Council Primary Election is April 2, 2019 

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

Quick Look Biography

Born and raised in Kansas City

Northland & Downtown Resident

Attended St. Therese Grade School

Eagle Scout

Graduate of Park Hill H.S.

Graduate, University of Missouri School of Business

Career Experience

Worker Job Skills Education

Learning and Development

Business Owner

Strategic Planning

Community Organization

Start-up KC and Tech Engagement

Nonprofit Communications

MY BIOGRAPHY

This campaign really is about you more than me.

But I also know that part of your decision to join and support this effort will come from understanding who I am, what I’ve done, and what I’ve learned.

So read on for an intimate and very honest look at my past and present.

Filled With Opportunity:

The Early Years

After moving from city to city because of his job, my father brought his wife and two children to Kansas City in the early 70’s. To this day he occasionally shares a story about how he had the chance to buy a swath of land that today is the busy corner of I-29 and Barry Road in the Northland. He didn’t buy the land so as stories go, while humorous, it is somewhat of a downer.  I was born in 1975, the youngest of three, and grew up in the same house my father still lives in today. We were solidly middle class, not rich by any standard, but we never went without things or struggled, that’s for sure. All that was a result of my father taking one year of business college in the 1950’s and combining that with a strong work ethic and loyalty to a company that he would eventually become an executive at.

My mother passed away from Cancer on New Year’s Eve when I was eight. It was a very difficult time, especially for my father, but thankfully we had my sister Laura, who was in the process of graduating college at the time. Without regard for disrupting her future, she selflessly took on the role of mother to me and to my older brother, Scott. While the pictures to the side show an incredibly cute child (my story, my adjectives), to be honest, I was also quite a handful. On one hand I got almost straight A’s in school, but I would be argumentative and disruptive at times. This dichotomy between positive and negative attributes would definitely play a big part of my future, but we’ll get to that soon enough. As for my sister, not only did she see me all the way off to college, but when my father had health problems she turned her focus to caring for him, something she continues to this day. She is one of the most impressive, caring, and selfless persons I have ever known.

By the time I got to college, I was already on a path that had been set during my high school years, one that would have an incredibly profound effect on my life still to this day…

 

Opportunity Squandered:

The Negative Years

While I would love to be able to tell you my life has been nothing but great positive experiences, and that I have always been a productive member of society, I cannot.

Like a number of people, I wrestled with alcohol starting in my late teen years through my mid-twenties. Perhaps it was a genetic predisposition, combined with the environment I was putting myself in, but almost every weekend in my high school years had to have alcohol as part of it to make it “a good time.”

This created a destructive habit and when it was combined with a clear disregard for my safety and the safety of others the end result was multiple DWIs during those years. The final DWI in my early twenties, resulted in me losing my drivers license for ten years. While I thankfully never caused an accident, I did consistently show poor judgement during those years and this severe punishment was the proper course of justice.  

It turns out that punishment likely saved my life and those of others around me, as I never drove a vehicle even once during that entire ten year period. It would also eventually be part of the catalyst for the positive changes I needed to make.

Before that change would come I first would “bottom out” in terms of my outlook on my life and what, if any future I would have. Around age 27, I woke up one day and just said I had had enough. I didn’t circle a date on the calendar, or tell myself “I’ll try to quit,” rather I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired with myself. And with that I never took another drink, which now would be about 16 years.

I am not an expert on addiction, but I know enough that there are many ways that people go about achieving the recovery they seek. For me it sadly took wasting all the opportunity I had been given as a child, putting my life and the lives of others at risk, and needing to come to the realization that nothing in my life would ever get better unless I made the necessary changes.

And so while I wish things would have been different, it turns out that this path led to me finally bringing that negative period of my life to a complete and permanent end.

And with that a new chapter in my life would begin, one rooted in being productive and thoughtful and interested in the world around me. But just because I had removed a giant obstacle in my life, that didn’t mean that there wasn’t more adversity ahead….

Ambitious Risk:

And the “Failure” It Brought

After years of wrestling with demons and being self-centered at the expense of others, I committed myself to do something that would have a positive impact on the city I have always called home.

I long had a desire to create a company from scratch that would bring jobs to Kansas City, and boost its stature as a hub for entrepreneurship.

I had a few concepts that utilized my skill and experience in instructional design and management, and over time I came to focus on one endeavor.

I built the system, began to market the service and got a lot of interest right away. This actually was a bad thing. You see, one of the primary rules of a startup is that in the end, having people show interest means little if they aren’t willing to actually spend their time and money using it.

Committing the common sin of equating interest with potential success, I poured more funds in and tapped my credit, certain that at least a few of the potential deals I was trying to sign would come to fruition. But they didn’t.

And with the same speed and energy that my dream of a great Kansas City company started, it was gone just like that. Leaving me to do the same thing that the great Walt Disney did after his first studio here in KC failed, I had to shut it down.

For the second time in my life I was facing major adversity of my own causing, and my future was again in doubt.

But this time was different. Yes, I wish I had done a better job at making that company successful, and at a minimum, recognize sooner that it wasn’t going to be. But at the same time, I did have a sense of pride that I “failed” trying to do something good.

And it is that feeling that led me to do some serious reflection as to what my role in the world could and should be. Where could I use my skills and abilities to really make a difference? What have I really had a passion for all this time that I would work tirelessly for….?

Renewed Purpose:

And Lessons Learned

That reflection led me to here. I came to realize that my true interest lies in public policy and public service. While some people find government, especially local government, to be mundane and tedious, I find it to be the place where the most direct effect on people’s lives occurs.

Streets, schools, crime, health, development, budgets, taxes, natural resources, and quality of life. All are things that our local government, namely the City Council of KC, have a part in .

That means we need people who have the ability to think about issues from every angle, who can be empathetic to the plight of others, who understand when something looks too good to be true, and ask the tough questions to avoid costly failures. We need people serving who truly believe in the ideas of opportunity AND accountability.

If you agree that these are traits a person serving you in government should have, then I believe I am the person for you.

I had opportunities given to me, in large part by the hard work of my father and sister, but also because of the mere color of my skin, and address of my home. 

At the same time, others never get the opportunities to begin with and are faced with obstacles that I never had. That is not only fundamentally unfair, but it is a situation that negatively impacts our city as a whole.

I am also the first to admit I squandered those opportunities, and had to spend two decades working to make up for it. This accountability of my own actions is something that I feel is desperately needed in our local government. How often do you hear a politician admit he or she was wrong? Rarely. Instead you hear phrases like “circumstances changed” or “estimates were off.”

I stopped using those excuses in my own life and will make sure they are removed from your city government.

The last major lesson my past has given me is the strong recognition that I have very few of the answers needed to solve the many challenges we face as a community. And you know what, that is OK. Nobody has all the answers, and certainly politicians are no exception. What I do have is enough humility to admit it and seek out those that do have the answers. It also means I am willing to listen to anyone who has an opinion, or idea, or concern they want heard.

The Future: Progress for All

If there is one thing that encompasses all of my life, and the lives of all of us, it is the human ability to change. To evolve as people, to make improvements in the way we act and react, and to not settle for the status quo. My life has been a case study of challenges and the growth that comes from them.  I firmly believe that for our city to achieve it’s full potential, we all must be open to change. If you believe that too, then I ask you to join me in this effort.

Together, we can make this the place we all deserve, and ensure that the future for you and your kids is one of opportunity, accountability, and progress for all.

But I Need You to Make This Happen.

SHARE
YOUR THOUGHTS.

SUPPORT
THE CAMPAIGN.

As much as I want this campaign to be about ideals and the quest to create a more functional and responsive City Hall, I also have to be realistic that it will take money to get the word out and to give resources to those who want to volunteer on the campaign.

With that understanding, I ask for you to consider giving even just a little amount so that we can have a fighting chance against the powerful interests groups that want to keep the status quo in order to keep their candidates in office.

If you feel strong enough to make such a profound gesture of support, please do so with my deepest gratitude. Click on the button below to make a quick and secure donation.

GET YOUR
FRIENDS INVOLVED.

Even with your financial support, I am well aware that we are up against a well-financed opponent, and so we need to maximize our reach via social media. So please take a minute and follow the campaign on the social networks below, AND also share the content of this site with your networks using the buttons seen above.

Follow the campaign below:

Also share this website on all your networks, using buttons on right side of screen above.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This