Lawrence means a lot to me. It has been calling me home before I even moved here. As a closeted gay kid growing up nearby, Lawrence represented freedom. In this city, I feel safe to express my true self.
Since making Lawrence my home, I have come to realize that not all of my neighbors experienced the same safety and space to build their lives, families and careers here. We can, and must, do better to ensure equal opportunity and fair systems for every single resident. When all Lawrencians are allowed to participate fully in the social, cultural, economic and civic life of our city, our neighborhoods will be stronger and our future brighter.
In 2016, I was in the Bolivian Andes conducting field research for my graduate degree. Then our country elected Donald Trump as president. I knew I had to come home. I joined a non-profit that advocates for progressive policy and system changes across the state to improve the lives of low-income and marginalized Kansans. As director of advocacy, my responsibilities include lobbying for policy change in the statehouse, leading a team of dedicated advocates across the state of Kansas, managing budgets, drafting grants, and strategizing to realize systemic change.
While at the University of Kansas, I met my fiance, Jon, the smartest, kindest man I've ever known. Together we adopted our puppy, Bo. Family means the world to both of us. I grew up surrounded by my extended family and am the grandson of farmers, a union man, and strong woman leader. I am the son of a park ranger and construction worker.
These incredible examples taught me principles of fairness and community that have guided me throughout my life. I plan on bringing them to the city commission.
I am proud to serve as Vice President of Douglas County Young Democrats. My work with Democratic politics began when I was 11 years-old and my mother took me door to door canvassing for then-Senator Laura Kelly. Since then I was heavily involved in 2014 for Margie Wakefield's campaign for US Congress and Paul Davis' bid for governor.
I also joined the executive board of the Douglas County Extension Council in January 2019 due to my work with the USDA Summer Meal and SNAP-Ed programs. Becoming involved in the Douglas County Extension office has expanded my connection to local growers, conservationists, and families.