.I am the father of two wonderful boys and a rescue dog that is as tough as she is sweet.Â I was born in North Miami Beach, Florida in 1966. I grew up and attended school in Florida. I have an Associate of Arts degree from Broward Community College and a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Finance from Florida Atlantic University where I served as Vice-President of the Student Body of the Broward Campuses for two years. I received my Juris DoctorateÂ in 1997 from Nova Southeastern University. During law school I served as the Student Bar president for two years, as well as being a member of Moot Court. I have lived in the Tampa Bay area since 1998 and my congressman is now also my opponent.
I am currently a practicing attorney and self employed. I currently practice Criminal Defense in both State and Federal Court. Prior to being self employed, I was an Assistant Public DefenderÂ at the Office of the Public Defender in Hillsborough County, (13Th Judicial Circuit)Â and the Public Defenders Office in Pinellas and Pasco County, (6th Judicial Circuit). I have seen first hand the many problems of our Judicial System including, school to prison pipeline, unjust sentencing schemes, conflicting laws, the destructive and unjust consequences of the war on drugs, minimum mandatory sentences, and excessive use of force. These are just a few of the problems that should be corrected through criminal justice reform.
Prior to being a lawyer, I worked to support myself through school and when I took time off from school. During the Christmas break from school I would often have a full time job and part time seasonal work. I have worked many different jobs supporting myself including manufacturing,Â unloading trucks, stocking shelves, delivering pharmaceuticals, cooking, retail, and whatever else I could find.I also held low level management positions at Target and Walden Books. I know the difficulty first hand of not being able to make ends meet. I know how it feels to be hungry and what it is like to live off of ketchup and Velveeta cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. I have experienced being short of rent money and what it is like to come home with the electric turned off. I have experienced both sides of our socioeconomic system, the haves and have not.
I am the man I am today because of the love and faith of my family, no matter how far off the track I wondered and my life experiences. My life experiences have forged my principles and an understanding of the frustration of people who work andÂ do everything they are supposed to, and yet still experience not being able to make ends meet, and live in poverty.
I am running for Congress because, unlike my opponent, I know what it means to be part of the working poor. I know the heartburn that ketchup and tomato soup causes. I know the feeling of hunger, despair, and being at the mercy of an employer because there are no other options. Unlike my opponent and his party, I understand the importance of social security, medicare, and medicaidÂ as a safety net because of the speed at which personal finances and health change for the worse and the difficulty of making enough to pay living expenses while saving for retirement. I am running for Congress because my opponent is an empty chair that, for over ten years as an elected official, has consistently voted on the side of big corporations and against the interests of the poor, working poor, and middle class.
I am running for Congress because our voices are either not being heard or are being ignored.
My opponent has had ten years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he has consistently failed to advance or support legislation that helps us in the bottom 98%. It is time for a new voice.
I am asking for your vote so I can become our new voice.