, Virginia , United States
Jan 16, 2016 11:33pm
|Info||I am the son of two hard working parents from Hays, Kansas. My dad worked as a truck driver, and I still remember riding in the cab as he ran a dairy route stretching from Hays to Hillsboro to Hutchinson and back. He even worked as an independent trucker for awhile with his old Freightliner. |
My dad served three tours of duty in Vietnam. He was called up for duty for both Desert Shield and Desert Storm. When duty calls, our family always answers. Just like his father, who served in World War II, and his uncles who also served their country, when the country called – he stood up to be counted.
He served every time with honor.
I remember riding with the rest of the family when he returned from Saudi Arabia in 1991. We all drove back to Hays together. It was a moment of great and almost inexpressible pride, to see our neighbors welcome home their own National Guard heroes, after their tours were completed.
My mother worked in a public school kitchen for ten years.
And from my brothers, I had four of them, and as it can only be among brothers, I learned not to take myself too seriously.
This is where I grew up, and how I grew up. I am proud of my Kansas heritage and, equally, my Kansas public school education.
Like Mom, like Dad, and like my brothers, I learned to work hard and pay my way. My after school jobs in Hays included washing dishes at local restaurants. In the summer, I mowed lawns and tended a paper route for my expenses.
In my sophomore year at high school, a teacher and close friend (after whom my second son is named) asked me to apply for admission to a boarding school on the East Coast. To my utter surprise, not only was I accepted, but I was given a full scholarship, complete with room and board, and even plane tickets back and forth to Kansas. It seems corny now, but I can remember how exciting it was to ride on an airplane for the first time. Some of my classmates were from very wealthy and powerful backgrounds. Admittedly, I was more than a little apprehensive and nervous, but I worked hard and in the end this small town kid, with a foundation from a Kansas public school education, did his state proud.
After boarding school, I was accepted to Harvard University, where I graduated with a degree in economics, all possible only through grants and scholarships.
But rather than taking a job as an investment banker on Wall Street, as many of my classmates did, I chose to return home to Kansas, armed with the tools to serve Kansas a little better.
After graduation, it was back to Kansas, and this time with a young bride. I went to work for Governor Bill Graves as a constituent services representative. I left Governor Graves’s staff in 1995 to work for Jerry Moran, who was then the state senate majority leader. It was working for Jerry that I learned how to handle a legislative agenda, and coordinate meetings of the Senate Republican Caucus.
A year later I joined Sam Brownback’s senatorial campaign, and after his successful election to the U.S. Senate, I went to work for the Senator, and Kansas, in Washington, D.C. At first my job was to keep Sam up-dated on budget and tax issues, but he also had me focusing on issues of importance to all Kansans: rural health care, education, and Social Security. In 2003 Sam made me his legislative director, and, a bit later, named me his chief of staff.
I enjoyed that work very much. It put me in touch with countless Kansans, and it gave me a definite vision for Kansas. After 12 years working for the people of Kansas on Senator Brownback’s staff, it is time to bring that all home and seek another avenue of service.
We can all serve Kansas, all in a variety of ways. Some serve Kansas by raising great families, growing the food we eat, or teaching our kids in school. Some serve Kansas in elective posts here at home - from county clerk to mayor to state senator and more. Some Kansans serve in the military foregoing home and family while protecting our country, and they, people like my dad, make Kansans most proud. And some, like me, want to serve Kansas in Congress, fighting to preserve our way of life and working toward a renewed prosperity for rural Kansas.
Working on behalf of Kansas in Washington for Senator Brownback was a privilege and an honor. But at the same time, ever since I first moved from Kansas to Washington, I have dreamed of returning home to continue in public service.
Kansas values are worth fighting for.
Small town America is worth fighting for.
The people of Kansas are worth fighting for.
I believe no man is “self made.” We are all products of our up-bringing. I am a product of the hard work of others as well as of the great state that I have always been proud to call home.
The honor to serve the state of Kansas is an honor that only the voters of this state can bestow, and it is for those votes that I will compete. Public service is a worthy calling, and I hope to prove myself worthy of that trust.
Kansas has given me so much – I hope to continue to give back.
I have worked hard all my life to gain the tools necessary for the job ahead of me. I hope you will allow me the honor of putting those tools to work for you. I will take my experience from nearly fifteen years of serving the state and its citizens and work hard for the people of Kansas in the United States Congress - and with your help, and with your vote, we can preserve these ideals and bring that message to Washington. It is with humility, that I ask you to support my bid for Congress.
I will never forget where I’m from and how I received the opportunities I have had. I am proud of my Kansas heritage and I intend to serve my state well in Congress.
No introduction of me would be complete without fond notice of my lovely wife, Meghan. She has been the love of my life since I was 20 years old, and my partner in all of my decisions. She and our nine children are eager to join me to meet everyone in the district. We look forward to hearing from you and being enriched by your stories and concerns as we travel the campaign trail.
God bless you all and God bless Kansas!