“I went to Shaw High School in Mobile and graduated from the Naval Academy, I did two tours overseas in Japan and Singapore and deployed to the Arabian Gulf. I came off active duty on July 13, 2001. Then 9-11 happened and I went back into the Naval Reserve. The last part of my career has been in business. My wife and I graduated from business school at Duke University and worked for fortune 500 companies. My dad got sick and I came back home to Prichard and that got me on the path to politics.
My mother passed away from early onset Alzheimer’s disease. In her last days, my brother and I were both serving overseas and my dad was here having to handle all of that by himself. It was hard to come home and bury my mother and then leave again after ten days. I could have gotten a hardship transfer but I had a responsibility to the sailors still operating at sea so I went right back. I had to do that as a leader.
I left for the Naval Academy at a time when family could walk all of the way up to the gate. Before I boarded the plane, my mother told me never forget where you came from. I never did. My wife and I moved back to Prichard into the house my parents built and I grew up in.
I am running for Congress because after the 2016 election cycle, it seemed like the candidates on both sides of the aisle spoke in soundbites, slogans, and talking points. I just wanted a politician to talk to us like normal human beings. There were also a number of people who were running unopposed and that motivated me to run. I thought the absolute minimum was I could put my name on the ballot and start talking about issues of the normal person. If more people that start to do that, then slowly over time we chip away and make our government more responsive to us.
I want people make an honest attempt to get to know each other. Everyone has a story and people make assumptions about other people without hearing their story. The more we have contact with each other and talk we will shift our thinking and understand each other and that breaks down the artificial walls. The talking to people, understanding what they are going through, and trying to find ways to help is the inspiring part of running for office. But the other side is that money is the root of all evil side in the system of political contributions. Every minute you spend raising money is a minute you don’t spend with the people you are trying to serve.”
(This is part of a series of stories from Prichard, Alabama, a once-thriving city on the edge of Mobile. Many people have moved away from Prichard and it struggles with difficult issues from violence, drugs, and education to city government, employment, transportation, and public water. But Prichard is also a reminder that communities are more than the stories of shootings and failures reported every night on the news. It is more than crime statistics and a proud past. There are good people who haven’t given up or are coming back home to Prichard. They have hope and are giving themselves to make a difference. I hope Prichard proves that positive change comes from people like this taking action. If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.)