Like many in Pennsylvania’s 16th congressional district, the story of having to start out with obstacles and then make something of ourselves is a common bond. My story of growing up in Zelienople is no different. But the other truth about our region is that those obstacles mostly stem from politicians not listening to our concerns or flat out ignoring us for the sake of political gamesmanship. We are all witness to that.
I had the opportunity to attend The Ohio State University, but like many students today, the financial burden became too great for me and my family. But I was determined to not allow that hurdle to control my future. So I began working in the banking sector as a customer service representative. And I studied and learned the industry at every chance I had. Through years of hard work and dedication, I eventually elevated to a leadership position in which I have supervised the careers of dozens of young professionals in our community.
Obstacles also lie in our communities that are rooted in racism and intolerance and I’ve experienced this first hand. Unfortunately what we hear and see out of Washington only exacerbates the situation. Government must be vigilant in protecting the rights of all humans, but I also believe I have an obligation to reach out to those who disagree with me. We can never change the hearts and minds of those who have been taught to hate if we simply chose to ignore them.
Throughout my life, I’ve built a personal and professional philosophy in which fostering camaraderie, social justice and economic growth was best for achieving the goals of my employees, customers and my community as a whole. Our government is capable of doing the same for you and I if our representatives would only put their own self interests aside and instead, put us first.
But we continue to see special interests and powerful corporations control our nation’s future. In this campaign for congress, my demonstration of my philosophy is carried out in my decision to reject money from corporate PACs.
Overcoming hurdles is never easy. But they can be worth it. I take pride in my determination professionally. I take pride in my outreach and work within my community to better the lives of others, as well as share my love of music (just like my father, before me) as a long standing member of the Barbershop Harmony Society. I take pride in my marriage to Don, and we take great pride in our rescue dog, Star.
I know there will always be hurdles. You know that, too.
But I also know that united, we will rise above them.