I was born and raised in Wisconsin. However, when you get comfortable with a place, you tend to take things for granted. After going to school at UW-Oshkosh, Waukesha, and eventually Milwaukee, I chose to attend graduate school in California.
Prior to that my only times out of Wisconsin were the two summers I spent in training for the Army – first at Fort Knox in Kentucky and then at Fort Harrison in Indiana.
I must admit that sunny southern California was very attractive to me at the age of 23.
So what is so great about Wisconsin? Well, having spent four years in Los Angeles, I often joke that our cold weather in Wisconsin preserves our high quality of life. It is like how a freezer preserves food.
After completing graduate school at the University of Southern California in 1992 and working for a short period of time, my wife and I made the decision to move back to Wisconsin. We knew we wanted to start a family and that there was no place better than Wisconsin to raise children.
When we moved back I started my career in real estate. I knew that I wanted to do some land development work, but I wanted practical sales experience first, plus I needed to make some money. It’s hard to do land development without capital.
Real estate sales gave me insights into what a high quality of life is really about. I found that an excellent education is important for the students, the parents, and the community, and that when the educational system is strong the community is strong. It also became evident to me how important it is to keep housing affordable because neighborhoods are safer and people are more committed to their community when they are homeowners.
The Great Recession taught me, as it taught many, the importance of a strong economy. People cannot afford to buy houses or stay in houses when they don’t have a job. In 2010 I was inspired with the election of Governor Scott Walker and the unveiling of the slogan, “Wisconsin is open for business.”
It was then that I made the commitment to do my part to help. I reached out to then Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, and he appointed me to the Waukesha County Community Development Block Grant Board. In 2014 I felt I could do more to affect the change that we need in Wisconsin, so I ran for the State Assembly in a crowded primary election and I came out victorious. At the time I promised voters that I would help to “keep our foot on the gas pedal of reform,” and in 2016 and again in 2018 I have renewed that pledge.
I feel that with my education in urban planning, public administration, and economics along with my practical business experience, I can contribute to an ongoing conversation about right-sizing state and local government to meet both the demands and challenges of our changing demographics. We need new approaches.
I also feel that the sales skills I’ve developed over the years give me the diplomacy and negotiating skills to be able to work in a bipartisan manner to build consensus, especially on good-government and transparency-related reforms.
I love serving Waukesha area residents, and I’d like to continue to serve.