My father grew up on a farm in Western Kentucky, formally educated only through the 8th grade. But armed with only that modest start in life, through initiative and hard work he provided a wonderful life for our family. He served in the US Merchant Marines in World War II learning a trade as a diesel engine mechanic. After the war, Dad married Mom, and for the next 30 years our family moved all over the world with Dad working for oil companies like Texaco and Exxon. In fact we lived in Benghazi and elsewhere in Libya for 5 years, during a period when the US Consulate in Benghazi was burned down the first time. We moved to Columbia, SC when I was 11 years old.
After getting a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt, only affordable with an Army ROTC scholarship, I served 4 years on active duty — mainly in Germany with a nuclear missile unit. It was there that I met my wife, Laurie, who was a school teacher in the Defense Department school system. After my Army service I worked at a Fortune 500 company in various positions — engineering to marketing — in Georgia, Ohio, and Germany. My family moved back home to South Carolina in 1998. During the "Great Recession" in 2008, I was among the several million Americans caught in recession-driven layoffs by their employers. To stay in South Carolina, I started my own small business LLC firm providing business development assistance to numerous manufacturing companies.
It was after I left a large company providing good health insurance that I learned firsthand about the gaps, high costs, and frustrations of getting healthcare insurance in the USA, particularly for a person with a pre-existing condition, and especially for a person starting up a small business.
I’ve had my own small business for about a decade now. Over the past 20 plus years, Laurie and I have lived in Simpsonville raising our son. Tony attended our excellent Greenville County public schools, including JL Mann Academy, and is now working on his PhD in Biology at USC in Columbia. We have lived the American Dream. My purpose in running for Congress is to do what I can to help all citizens, and especially our kids, live the same American Dreams my family and I have. We owe that to them — and, I believe, ourselves.
Why Am I Running?
I’m a baby boomer. I’ve been around long enough to have watched a JFK press conference live on TV, I saw Nixon resign, and as a Cold War Veteran stationed in Germany saw what I thought would never happen in my lifetime, the Berlin Wall pulled down. I’ve lived during wonderful events like the Moon Landings and also during our generation’s Day of Infamy September 11, 2001. I have lived long enough to see change is possible.
I’ve observed our political discourse go from the era of partnership with President Reagan and Speaker Tip Oneil to today’s busted and non-working partisanship with Congress, who do little more than getting on TV to say, “Bush lied” or “Obama lied”. In today's President Trump tweeting era, sadly the partisan divide and dysfunction continues to worsen.
I’m running because the time is past due to reverse and shrink our partisan political divide. It’s time for Congress to work together again. And I do see a path that can deliver for our country a Congress that can pass a budget, that can address expanding without end deficits, and that can deliver the promises made in the Preamble to the Constitution. That path is to elect Democrats that are moderates, not extremists. Moderate Democrats that can and will work with the moderate Republicans to develop bi-partisan common ground American solutions for our nation to address problems that have dangerously festered far too long without resolution.
I’m running for the US House from South Carolina 4 to offer our voters a moderate Democrat to vote for. I believe moderate Democrats today that return to philosophies like JFK’s, like Fritz Hollings, like Dick Riley, can win elections in South Carolina and across the USA again. Our Parents voted for JFK. Let’s get back to that. Moderate Democrats are running in many districts across the nation this year, 2018. Enough so that we can build a coalition of moderates to tackle and break the political extremist’s gridlock. Moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia can compete and win, in even traditionally ultra conservative districts like SC-4. I’m confident about this!
Patrick Henry, in his famous ‘Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech, also challenged his Virginia Colleagues in the House of Burgess with: ‘Why stand we here idle?”
I’m not going to “stand Idle” in 2018. That’s why I’m running. Will you join me? We can do better and we can make Congress Work – Again.