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In 2012 my wife Liz and I made a bold move hoping to offer our children a new variety of opportunities in a family oriented community. After a long search, we found that very special place here in Arkansas.
I have been practicing Obstetrics and Gynecology for almost 20 years, the last five of which have been here in Hot Springs. In that time, I have had the pleasure of caring for thousands of families, many of whom end up becoming like family to me.
We don't just talk medicine. They confide in me. I hear every day about the real issues that affect Arkansas families. I hear about financial worries, problems with children, schools, family violence, low wages, high prices and so on. Most importantly, what I hear is people losing hope.
They often feel like no one is listening or willing to help. People have lost faith in government. They don't see a viable path to improve their quality of life no matter how hard they seem to try.
What really stands out most to me is how similar we all are. Republican, Democrat, or non-political: we all want the same things. We are all tired of nothing getting accomplished.
We want safe educational opportunities for our children. We want jobs that pay a living wage. We want easy access to affordable healthcare.We want freedom to worship and express ourselves. We want to work hard but still be able to enjoy our lives and our families. I see it every single day. We are all more similar than we are different and we are all in this together.
I am running for Arkansas Senate for District 14 because I want to put political divisions aside and find real solutions to the very real problems we face every day.
I like to live by this philosophy: “Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. We often get lost trying to hold on to the idea of perfect solutions or nothing at all. When we do this, we miss out on many attainable solutions to the problems in our everyday life. We should always try to reach our dreams, but it should never stop us from appreciating what we have, or accepting that sometimes we have to take smaller steps toward the greater good. That is how I believe we can make government work for the people again. Together we can take small steps that make things better until one day we find ourselves in a State that works for everyone.
I was born in Illinois but spent my childhood in a rural Ohio town of 2000 people. My parents were small business owners and worked hard their entire lives. Unfortunately, my father fell ill and the greenhouse business my parents worked so hard to build went under. At forty years old my mother went to nursing school and became the breadwinner. I learned a valuable lesson that we do whatever we have to do to take care of our family. We never give up.
I played football in high school and college and graduated summa cum laude from The Ohio State University. I stayed in Ohio for Medical School and moved on to Chicago to complete my OB/Gyn residency training at Rush University Medical Center.
It was in the last few months of my residency that I met my amazing wife: Liz. Exactly one year later we were engaged, married seven months after that, and we now have 3 beautiful children. Charlotte (age 12), Frankie (age 10), and our newest addition, Matthew, born in August of 2017.
It is because of these 4 amazing people that I began this journey. I wanted to give them every opportunity possible in life. We wanted to raise them in a community where family values mattered.
In 2013 we began our new lives here in Hot Springs. It truly felt like a calling. I began a new leg of my career at National Park Medical Center. I've met the most amazing people here. We’ve made special friendships here.
It didn’t take long for Arkansas to feel like home. It is a special place, with incredibly special people.
I have learned that red or blue, across all races and religions, rich or poor: people are not all that different. It's easy to point fingers, make assumptions and recite anger filled talking points to strangers on the internet. Ultimately; if we can stop and really listen to each other, we will realize that we all want the same things out of life.
For much of my adult life I was a Republican. I voted Republican in my very first election and for most of the elections that followed. I believe that government should serve the people, not the other way around. Our votes and our tax dollars should be treated with the respect they deserve. That is what the Republican party used to represent.
In 2006, I no longer recognized my party.
Professionally, I see how policy deeply influences peoples lives and livelihood. I see people struggle to afford their medication. I see babies born sick due to lack of affordable prenatal care. I see families struggle to afford childcare. I know too many people working too much for too little pay with few options In front of them.
I see people who want to further their education, but have no viable path to make that happen. I see hard working people desperate for their shot to live the American dream: where hard work leads to a secure life for their family.
I also see legislators accusing these hard working people of not doing enough to help themselves. The truth is: hard work is not enough when you are starting the race a mile behind everyone else. I saw my own party shaming people for not being better at playing a rigged game.
That was the moment I became a Democrat.
When citizens get involved, government can work. When I had my first child in 2005, I began to notice exactly how much. From their education, to the safety of our streets, to the quality of food they ate, I began to fully see how integral government was to the life they were going to live. Citizens without means were struggling the most in these areas.
Nobody was fighting for them.
I still believe in fiscal responsibility. I still support the second amendment. I still believe in a strong military. I still believe in religious freedom.
As a Democrat, I believe in our government‘s ability to make people’s lives better. Government should work to keep us safe, educated, healthy, and free. It should use our hard earned tax dollars to offer us opportunities to succeed, not nickel and dime us for nonsense. I believe that in Arkansas we can work together to make sure every one of us can have that American dream.
Over the coming months, I want to get to know as many of you as I can. I want to continue to hear what issues matter to the people of Arkansas, and work together to find solutions.
I want the opportunity to serve YOU, not the other way around. That’s how government is supposed to work, and the answers are found toward the middle, not the extremes.
I am honored to dedicate my life to helping the families in my community be healthy. We have been welcomed here with open arms and I look forward to the opportunity to serve in a way that will allow me to reach even more people. Healthcare is at a crossroads. It’s time to make healthcare a right, not a luxury only some can afford.
We need to address our schools. They need to be safe for our kids. They need to have well paid teachers who love what they do. We need to train our children for the new skills needed to make it in this changing economy.
We need to lead the nation in pilot programs to address the problems of drugs, teen pregnancy, and access to higher education.
Over the coming months, I will share the ideas I have to combat these problems.
I also look forward to having a dialogue with you. We’re in this together, and only together can we lift up every family and every citizen of Arkansas.
I will work for you, your family, and our community. But I can't do it alone. This is a true grassroots campaign and we look forward to working hard for you and working with you. Our doors are open to all volunteers. This is your government, let us help you make your voice heard.
Government should not be an anonymous body of rules that only benefit the few at the top. It should not be feared or an enemy of the people. We are our government and I intend to make sure every Arkansan is equally represented. The voters are the bosses and the government is the employee. We need to remember that the voters are in charge, not the legislators.
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