In the last three years of meeting voters in every corner of Arizona's Legislative District 11, I've been asked this question many times: "How does a retired Postmaster from Chicago end up running for the Arizona State Senate?"
As is true in everyone's life, mine has taken "many a winding turn" but as I look back, serving my community in government seems almost to have been inevitable. My 33 years with the U.S Postal Service was split between representing both sides in labor negotiations - 12 years as a local president of the National Association of Letter Carriers and 21 years representing USPS Management. I believe, more than at any time in history, our government needs to consider and represent both sides of issues.
Growing up in what would be generously called a low income inner city Chicago neighborhood, I developed an understanding of people who were struggling to make ends meet. I was fortunate to be able to use my G.I. benefits, thanks to serving honorably in the Air Force, for my college education and my first mortgage. Today's working and low income families are not so lucky.
My concern for those less fortunate, led me to begin volunteering with several organizations. I began working with struggling and troubled individuals. I worked closely with many who dealt with issues ranging from substance abuse to financial and marital problems. I came to realize that when given an opportunity and direction, most people will find their way.
Since my wife and I made our home in Arizona in 2006, we've seen the GOP dominated state government do severe damage to the chances of low income and working families to achieve prosperity. Republicans in the state legislature have taken a sledge hammer to Public Education. They've destroyed any semblance of fair taxes and voters' ability to participate in the democratic process.
I've worked in Arizona as a Democratic campaign volunteer in every election since 2006. I joined a few dedicated folks in rebuilding the party organizations in both Casa Grande and Maricopa. I am an elected Precinct Committee Person, serving on the Arizona State Committee. I serve as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Pinal County Party and as the 1st Vice Chair of Legislative District 11's Committee.
I've met literally thousands of people at their homes since 2015. Hearing from families across LD11- spanning Maricopa City, Casa Grande, Arizona City and all the way to Oro Valley, Marana and SaddleBrooke. So many feel they are being left out of opportunities for a better life. Crystal, a young woman from Arizona City, cried as she told me she wouldn't be able to reach her life long dream of a college education - "I just can't afford it". I could see the fear on Sal and Barbara's faces when they talked about, "What kind of future will our grandchildren have in Arizona - good jobs are gone?"
As a lifetime bicycling and camping enthusiast, I'm also extremely concerned about the direction the GOP is taking regarding our Public Lands. Republicans seem committed to policies that will devalue and privatize Arizona's natural treasures. Hunters, fisherman and hikers might soon be kept out by "Private Property" signs in the name of profit.
My life has been all about bringing people and ideas together to solve problems. I am convinced that the problems we see today in Arizona are truly solvable. I'm running for the State Senate in Arizona's Legislative District 11 because I have the experience and commitment to listening to our citizens and helping them achieve prosperity.