Growing up in the suburbs of New Orleans, my Dad captained a shrimp boat while my sister and I helped my Mom clean bars on the weekends. My parents moved us to Stockbridge, Georgia in 1985 for three reasons: to take care of my great-grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s, for better economic opportunities for my Dad, and for strong, safe schools for us children.
My mom’s example of service for a loved one continues to resonate throughout my life. Only later, when reflecting on my desire to serve my community as Representative for House District 119, did I realize that those three principles of service, economic opportunity, and education motivate me to this day.
I have spent my career working in the technology sector. I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Computer Science, and for the past ten years I have been an entrepreneur, launching tech startups, managing teams and writing software for companies of all sizes from startups to Fortune 50 companies. Currently I’m a Senior Software Developer at GitHub, a software development platform.
In starting new companies, I’ve learned the importance of small business to our economy, and I’ve also learned that technology skills are critical to individual success. In 2014, I joined the board of directors of Four Athens, a nonprofit that runs software coding classes for both adults and students in local schools. Since that time, we have placed classes in 13 schools in Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties, helping to ensure that the next generation will have the skills to compete in the new economy.
I’ve always been passionate about economic opportunity and education, but after the 2016 election, my priorities changed. It was a wake up call to see someone in the White House not only profoundly unfit for the job, but also so out of step with the values of so many Americans, Georgians, and our neighbors here in Athens-Clarke and Oconee. Like a lot of you, I felt compelled to start serving my community in new ways.
I am a long-time member of Oconee Presbyterian Church, and I’m currently serving as an elder. As a person of faith, I believe we are all called to lift up the most vulnerable in our society. In the past few months, we have seen this Administration advance policies that seek to marginalize women, people of color, immigrants, sexual assault survivors, LGBT Americans, children — the list goes on. It’s wrong, and it’s not the America I know and love. As a person of faith, I recognize all of these people as my brothers and sisters.
I will work hard to represent everyone in House District 119. I believe with my technology and education background, I can help make sure that Athens-Clarke and Oconee are ready to compete and excel in the new economy.
I am so fortunate to share my life with my wife Kristina and our wonderful children Chloe, Callie Jean, and Charlie. (Not to mention our dogs Ziggy and Piper and our cat Clover.) They are my bedrock, and I know that with them, and with you my friends and neighbors, together we can accomplish anything.
Let’s put people first and build a great community that we can hand off to our kids. And let’s make them proud.