My story, my experiences, and what I have learned along the way have all shaped the person I am, and the kind of representative I intend to be for Rosemount, Apple Valley and Coates.
I was raised in Cottage Grove, MN, the youngest of seven children in a working class family. My parents were both veterans of World War II. While my family was very typical, my life changed drastically at an early age. My brother, Ray, died during his service in Vietnam. I was only five years old when he died, and if this loss wasn’t hard enough on my family, my mother died of cancer when I was just 12 years old. Because my veteran father suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he was not able to care for me alone. I was sent to live with my oldest sister in Hudson, WI.
Living with my sister and her family, I continued to grow up in a strong, Catholic family. Unfortunately, my life changed again when I was befriended by a priest who took advantage of my vulnerable situation. For many years I tried to ignore the abuse I sustained, but I learned that other young people were also being harmed, and I knew that speaking out about it could help make it stop. I decided to pursue action against the church, and I received one of the first abuse settlements in the state of Minnesota. This was a terrible time in my life, but it taught me that regardless of what the institution is, or how big it is, you have to address a wrong. I also learned to forgive, and I remain an active member of the Catholic church today.
After graduating from Hudson High School, I started college in Winona, MN, and then switched to trade school to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter/EMT. I worked for over 30 years in emergency medical services and healthcare, and during that time I continued to follow my entrepreneurial spirit and I started several businesses. One of these businesses, a flower shop, was ultimately unsuccessful and ended up with tax problems. While it was difficult and embarrassing to have these issues, we paid all the money owed, and learned important lessons I have kept with me in other businesses and will bring with me to the legislature.
Throughout my life, my family has been the biggest source of support for me. My wife, Angela, and I were married in 1991 and together we have raised our three boys. We moved to Rosemount in 2002 so our boys could attend the excellent public schools in District 196. I am grateful for what this school district has done and continues to do for my family and I will fight to ensure our schools remain strong for all students, including those yet to come.
Today I am a successful realtor, and I recently returned to healthcare, working in a local emergency department. I represent local interests by serving on the Community Advisory Committee for the Pine Bend Refinery. I am a father, a community leader and a friend. I have never been afraid of hard work, and I am someone who will do more than just listen to concerns; I will go right to work to ensure our district is well represented in St. Paul. This is your seat 57B, and I look forward to the opportunity to represent you!