I was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado. I have lived in 4 different houses throughout my life, all of which have been within a 5.5 mile radius. I grew up with a love for the outdoors, and what better place to be with a love for the outdoors than the beautiful state of Colorado! I have never had a desire to live anywhere else. Colorado is my home, and Colorado is where I want to stay! I was raised in an average middle class family. For almost as long as I can remember, both of my parents have worked, most of the time with more than one job in order to make things meet. I didn’t grow up getting everything I wanted, and I was expected to do my share around the house. Sometimes we struggled, but I wouldn’t change any of it. These experiences taught me how important it is to have a good work ethic, I was able to learn how to do nearly anything needed in order to fix and maintain the house, and I was taught at a young age how to manage money. I was taught how to shop second hand and sales, and most importantly, how to stick to a budget. These are all valuable skills that I have already used so many times throughout my life. Today I am married to my lovely wife Katherine and we have 2 kids; Cooper who is 1, and baby boy number 2 who is due in September! We are currently living in a basement apartment, but hope to be buying a home in the near future! I greatly enjoy spending time with my family, volunteering with Awana, kayaking, and spending time outdoors.
I stared my first job while I was in high school, as a martial arts instructor through a local small business. This was an amazing first job for me that taught me a lot. Unfortunately, as I got older, two to three hours a week of work was not enough to pay the bills. Therefore, on my eighteenth birthday I applied to work at one of the coolest stores that I knew, Bass Pro Shops.
I worked at Bass Pro for nearly five years, during which time I was honored to have been acknowledged as Associate of the Month twice, as well as being announced as the Associate of the Year in 2015. Again, this job allowed me to learn a lot about myself as well as taught me how to provide excellent customer service. I loved this job, and the people I got to work with as well as our customers, but in 2018 as I prepared to get married and start a family of my own, I had to seek other employment that would allow me to provide for my family.
I was then hired to work for the City of Aurora in their Open Space and Natural Resource (OSNR) division as a seasonal maintenance worker. After the summer was over I, along with many other seasonal workers, was offered to stay on for the winter as contract employees, to which I agreed. A little over a month later, a full time permanent position became available and I was hired to fill that spot. This is where I am currently working today! Some of my favorite things about this job are getting to spend all my time outdoors, caring for the trails, promoting native plants through integrated pest management, keeping our city clean and looking nice, and most of all getting to see the smiles on all the people who are using our trails and open spaces. I am on what we call the “North” crew of OSNR, so we are responsible for maintaining the 11 (soon to be more) miles of the Highline Canal Trail that is in Aurora, as well as Sand Creek Regional Greenway, Spring Hill Trail, Triple Creek Trail and Trailhead, Westerly Creek Trail near Montview, and Highpoint trail (Near the Gaylord of the Rockies). I love this job and am so happy to work with amazing people.
I was home educated from Kindergarten through High school. This is one of the primary things that has helped to shape me as a person. Being home educated taught me how to set priorities, keep commitments, how to be self motivated, it taught me valuable life skills such as cooking, cleaning, working, and the importance of community. Being home educated is one part of my life that I would not do any differently at all! In addition to my home schooling, I also attended Aurora Options, which is a supplemental program offered through the Aurora Public Schools. This program has since grown and is now in many school districts across our state. Options is an opportunity for home educated students to attend school one day a week in a public school environment. The classes are taught by licensed teachers, and at the site I attended, are primarily focused on enrichment, and doing subjects that are harder to do at home, such as P.E., science labs, and foreign language. My junior year attending this school, in my American history class, we were learning about the formation of our government, and I requested of my teacher, who has to be one of the best around, that we mimic this process and have a constitutional convention for our school and for a student body government. She happily agreed and soon we would have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights for our Options Site. The next logical step was to have an election and form a legislature. Therefore, with my wonderful teachers help, I was able to plan and hold our first ever student body election. In preparation for this election I sent out numerous email invitations to many local, state and federal politicians, to which I received a couple letters, as well as a visit and talk from the Aurora Mayor Pro-Temp who was at the time Debi Hunter-Holen. At this election I was voted to become our first student body president. This experience was a lot of fun, and it taught me a lot about the election process as well as American history. The following year, I decided not to run for re-election because I wanted to serve our student government in a different capacity, I wanted to run as Kindergarten Representative. I also won this election, due to running un-opposed. After graduating, I came back to this school where I worked as a clerk for just over four years, and I greatly enjoyed every year when election time would come around again, when I was given the opportunity to help students with speeches and their campaigns. This was a great job. I was disappointed when I had to resign when I was offered a job to work with the City of Aurora.
As a student of Aurora Options I also qualified for Concurrent Enrollment, which is a program that offers students an opportunity to take college classes at a local community college while in high school. I utilized this opportunity my Junior and Senior years, and took some English Comprehension, and Political Science classes. During this time I decided that, although I received great grades and was able to learn a lot, college was not the route that I wanted to take. I would prefer to get my hands dirty and learn on the job through trade based jobs rather then going into debt in order to afford college. I understand that college is the right track for some, but I also believe that for others there are other ways! We are always in need of more trade workers!
I enjoy serving this community in many ways. My favorite of which is by volunteering with Awana (a Church program for pre-k through 12th grade students). Currently my wife, Katherine, and I volunteer with Awana two nights a week. On Sunday afternoons we serve as Cubbie (3-4 year old) co-directors, where we work with six amazing leaders, (one adult and five middle school/high school students) serving more than 15 kids. We greatly enjoy serving in this capacity, and love getting to know each one of these kids and their families. On Monday nights we serve as Journey (high school) co-directors, where we work with 3 other leaders also serving more than 15 students. In Awana, no matter the age, we teach the students a bible lesson, play games, and help them trough their handbook. When students complete their handbook they are presented with an award at the end of the year. We have volunteered with Awana for a combined 27 years (Katherine 14, and myself 13)!
Katherine and I also greatly enjoy serving with Rocky Mountain Honors Camp every summer, where we serve as counselors and in other rolls such as photography. This camp is for middle school and high school students who have completed an Awana book the year prior. This is one week that we greatly look forward to every summer and enjoy preparing for by creating decorations and devotions that go along with that years’ theme.
I have always enjoyed participating in the many community events that have been put on by the City of Aurora. Some of my favorite community events from the past have included, Punkin-chunkin, Octoberfest, Kid’s Spree, Fourth of July Spectacular, and other amazing events. I am thankful to live in a city that promotes community through events such as these.
Why am I running?
When I was in High School I developed a love for the political process. Because of that love, I dove into studying politics and American history. This went on for many years, and I began putting my love of politics to work by attending my first caucus, and soon thereafter, my first assemblies. At our county assembly when we were divided up into House Districts, they proceeded to ask for someone to volunteer to run for office, because we did not have anyone who was planning to do so. I wanted to offer, but I was far to young to qualify. Richard Bowman volunteered and I did what I could to assist him in his campaign that year. However, this was also the year that my love for politics began to fade. As I had finally begun being active in politics, I began to realize that many of the stereotypes attached to them were true. I began to wonder if this was something I really wanted to be involved in, and soon thereafter slowed my engagement into politics.
I often hear people saying they don’t like how we only have politicians running for office, or how it is only the rich who can effectively run, or how politicians today have a severe lack of morals and ethics. Many of these things I have found myself saying as well. That is part of the reason that I decided to run this year. I am not a politician, I do not claim to know everything that has to do with the state political system, but I can tell you that I will do my very best to represent you, the average working Coloradan. I am not rich either! But I know how to be frugal with my purchases and I am going to do my best to stretch the money I spend to the best of my ability so I can reach out to all those within my district.
However, the greatest reason that I am running for office is this; Our state is in a critical place in history, every year more and more legislation is getting pushed through that is limiting the rights of the people. They are restricting rights that were put forth in the United States Constitution, many of which were rights that our founding fathers felt so strongly upon that they were willing to wage a war against England in order to receive these freedoms. They are removing the rights of parents to make choices for their children’s healthcare. They are defending those who have committed crimes, while killing those who are unborn and have done nothing wrong. They are threatening more and more to restrict our religious freedom. And they are doing all of these things in the name of tolerance. I for one am tired of my freedoms being restricted, and I am ready to take a stand for my family, for my friends, for my community and for the great state of Colorado. That is why I am running for state house.