I have experienced and know many of the struggles the 98 percent of Floridians face.
I am the father of two wonderful boys and a rescue dog that is as tough as she is sweet. I was born in North Miami Beach, Florida in 1966. I grew up in Florida and attended elementary and middle school in Florida.
I earned my Associate of Arts degree from Broward Community College and a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Finance from Florida Atlantic University. While there I served as vice-president of the Student Body at the Broward Campuses for two years. I received my Juris Doctorate in 1997 from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. During law school I served as the Student Bar president for two years, and was also a member of Moot Court. I have lived in the Tampa Bay area since 1998, and my congressman is now also my opponent.
I am currently a practicing attorney and am self-employed. Practice areas include criminal defense in both the State and Federal Courts. Prior to striking out on my own, I was an Assistant Public Defender at the Office of the Public Defender in Hillsborough County, (13th Judicial Circuit) and the Public Defender’s Office in Pinellas and Pasco County, (6th Judicial Circuit). I have seen many problems of our Judicial System first-hand including the school-to-prison pipeline, unjust sentencing schemes, conflicting laws, the destructive and unjust consequences of the war ondrugs, minimum mandatory sentences, and excessive use of force. These are just a few of the problems that should be corrected through criminal justice reform.
I am proud to say I was able to support myself throughout my college career. During the Christmas break I would often have a full-time job and part time seasonal work. I have worked in many different industries and roles including manufacturing, unloading freight, stocking shelves, delivering pharmaceuticals, cooking, retail, and whatever else I could find to make ends meet while going to school full-time. I also held low level management positions at Target and Walden Books.
I know the difficulty first hand of not being able to make ends meet. I know how it feels to be hungry and what it is like to live off of ketchup sandwiches, Velveeta cheese sandwiches, and tomato soup. I have experienced being short of rent money and what it is like to come home with the electric turned off. I have experienced both sides of our socioeconomic system – the “haves” and “have not’s.”
I am the man I am today because of the love and faith of my family. My life experiences have forged my principles along with an acute understanding of how frustrated people feel who work and do everything they are supposed to do, and yet still experience life within, or on the edge of, poverty.
I am running for Congress because, unlike my opponent, I know what it means to be part of the working poor. I know the heartburn and heartache that causes. I know the feeling of hunger, despair, and being at the mercy of an unethical employer because there were no other options. I know what it is like to have a job out side of government and outside of my fathers influence, no matter how minimal it might have been. I do not begrudge my opponent for his ability to use his last name for job security, but I am angry at his squandering of the opportunity to make our lives better through his representation.
Unlike my opponent and his party leadership, I understand the importance of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as safety nets. The speed at which personal finances and health can change for the worse and the difficulty of making enough to pay living expenses while saving for retirement make such programs a necessity – not an entitlement.
I am running for Congress because my opponent has consistently voted on the side of big corporations and against the interests of the poor, working poor, and middle class for a decade. Enough is enough. He equally held these positions when he was in the State legislature prior to his dad retiring, and his “promotion”
I am running for Congress because our voices are either not being heard or are being ignored. My opponent has had ten years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he has consistently failed to advance or support legislation that helps us in the bottom 98%. It is time for a new voice.
I am asking for your vote so I can become that voice.