Due to my unexpected retirement, I had plenty of time to watch the election cycle of 2016. I was most disappointed in both parties. My dad always said if you see a problem, become the solution.
I felt running for local office was important, as I believe politics are local. After reviewing the voting record of the incumbent and then reading on his positions, I felt they did not match up. I decided to run, especially independent of the two-party system, so I could make a legitimate change for the better.
What makes you the best candidate?
I’ve served our country for 25 years as a veteran and federal law enforcement officer. I am a proven leader that excels in inspiring people to achieve more than they expected. I am in the middle, neither a Republican nor Democrat. I believe our commonwealth is divided and I will work to bring people together. Our-two party system operates by dividing the people into areas fueled by rhetoric on issues they don’t even believe in anymore.
I say this: Community begins with unity, and without unity, we don’t have a community. I’m not here to take “shots” at the left or the right. Instead, I’ll strive for a unified community voice.
What ranks as the most important issue facing the 2018 General Assembly and how do you plan to address it?
Education. Reforming Standards of Learning is a priority while finding an education platform that will prepare our youth for innovative 21st century jobs is vital.
My plan is to offer more credits, while in high school, that will transfer to community colleges in the form of vocational trade programs. That will allow a student to pursue a career path while accruing less debt and the opportunity to join the workforce faster. The 18th District is rural; I will provide a means that will utilize our strengths.
Please, describe the most difficult challenge you’ve faced in a leadership position and your response to that situation.
In 2003, I worked at the U.S. Capitol Police, assigned to the Senate Chambers Section. I was on the job for eight months as a sworn police officer. Although new to federal law enforcement, I had 10 years of active duty Navy and was a Navy reservist. Because of my experience from the military, I felt that I would be an excellent representative to the USCP Chiefs Council. My supervisors appreciated my initiative and supported my selection for council.
The USCP had a sworn officer versus civilian support staff hierarchy. I didn’t agree with this mentality and one of my first topics for the council was finding a means for the support staff assigned to my section to receive free computer training held at the Capitol complex. I communicated with the training managers and to my chain of command to allow access to the training. My argument was that a more educated workforce that is not segregated from advanced learning opportunities will become more productive. Morale, a sense of buy-in from the support staff, would increase efficiency within this section overall. I received the blessing from both trainers and supervisors to approach the Chiefs Council with the issue.
The council agreed with me and the end result was the civilian support staff throughout the capital complex would be allowed to attend the computer based training. Not only did attendance levels for the training increase, more and more sworn officers also attended the classes. The benefits of this one measure is still felt today.