After being raised by a working class family in Hernando County, I moved to Gainesville for college. I worked there for several years – and even a few in Seattle, WA – before deciding to return home. I wanted to be closer to my family and friends and live with a sense of ownership of, and investment in, my community.
I have voted in every election since I turned 18. My approach was simply to vote and hope for the best, but the election in 2016 was a turning point. As with all the other white people that grew up in a “post-racial” America, finding out how very privileged and wrong we all were was like falling into a frozen lake. Voting isn’t enough. Relying on the person you voted for to “do the right thing,” even when they are “your party,” with no oversight from their constituents is akin to opting-out. It’s our responsibility to be involved!
I’m passionate about civic education, supporting social justice, and pursuing candidates that will speak for the people. I’m a progressive because I care deeply about womxn’s body autonomy, gender and racial justice, and creating a country where everyone is able to live with dignity and purpose.
My parents moved here from New York, like a lot of families, in 1989. They wanted to have a second child, and Florida’s low cost of living let my mom stay at home even though my dad was making minimum wage. Then, I was born with cancer. The fact that I don’t have to explain any further for people to know how the story ends – that is what drives me. People who work hard and do their part in society should be free from that precariousness, and from the fear that their lives can be shattered at any moment. That principle is the core of progressive politics.
As for me, I’ve lived in Hernando County most of my life. I was born here. I grew up here. Most everyone I know and love is here. Like my friends, I really got active in politics when I learned about the proposed expansion of the Cemex mine outside of Brooksville. The Ft. Dade canopy is one of the most iconic and memorable landmarks in this county, and the expansion area would see open pit mining less than 2 miles from where my nephews – aged 8 and 2 – are growing up. That’s part of why I started getting involved in mid-2018, and I’ve been tumbling down the rabbit hole ever since!
I was born in rural Pennsylvania and moved to Hernando County as a teenager in 2005. In the following years, my family was deeply affected by the recession, restrictive right-to-work laws, poor public transportation, and various other policy failures that made success that much more difficult to achieve.
In the past 14 years I’ve lived or worked in every corner of this county. I’ve met a lot of people who have moved here in order to find a better life, and have found only hardship. It’s heartbreaking to watch so many people work hard and still struggle. My interest in politics grew from my belief that we could do better and my passion for being a part of something bigger. Community institutions, events, and resources that bring people together are the most important part of a community. It’s our job to make sure our resources are used for the benefit of all of us.
I grew up on the dirt roads off of County Line. My working-class family didn’t have the time or resources for civic engagement, so I didn’t stray far from home until I was told to “get an education.” After graduating from the University of Florida, my wife and I moved out to Seattle in the summer of ’16. The people we met, and the concerns they had, remained the same. I attended meetings, volunteered, supported local artists, and protested in the streets; but as novelty gave way to loneliness, we decided to bring it home.
Not long after, in passing, my grandmother asked me if I had gotten to know my neighbors. I hadn’t, and this stuck with me. I had traveled across the country and back only to realize I didn’t even know the people living next to me – I was still isolated from my community, socially alienated. Instead of listening to the ceaseless cacophony of the national stage, I decided to focus on the local issues impacting us daily.
I work in opposition to the dissemination of unchecked lies in our local media, the ubiquity of money in our local politics, and the privatization of our public goods.