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Native Son | Dedicated Public Servant

Humble Beginnings
 

I am a proud Maryland native, having been born in Olney on March 3, 1987.  Since 2001, the Glen Burnie/Severn area has been home.

 

I am the son of a single mother and the middle child of three.  My mother was raised in a military family, so her sense of family and the discipline she learned as a child were two important factors in how she raised us.  The house was full of love, but we were expected to work hard in life in order to succeed.

 

I grew up by humble means.  We did not have a lot as a family.  Still, my mother worked tirelessly to make sure that we always had a roof over our head, clothing on our backs, and food in our mouths.  In my teenage years, it did require our going on public assistance – Food Stamps, Temporary Cash Assistance, and Medicaid.  My mother’s physical disability meant that employment for her and income stability were impossible.

 

My mother’s resilience and independence taught me to appreciate the value of a dollar earned through hard work.  She strongly encouraged me to get my first job at 15, and I've been working (and loving it) ever since.  She also taught me how to live within my means.

 
Education
 

I was fortunate that through all of the hardships growing up, I was afforded a fantastic public education.  My sixth to eighth grade years were spent at Old Mill Middle School South, and I went on to graduate from Old Mill High School in 2005.  Out of the hundreds of people in our graduating class, my hard work earned me the honor of being ranked 11th overall.

 

This paid off, too.  Because of scholastic achievement, I was given a financial aid and scholarship package that enabled me to go to Washington College, a small private liberal arts college in Chestertown, Maryland.  There, I double majored in Political Science and Economics, with a focus on public policy.  In May, 2009, I graduated Cum Laude with Bachelor of Arts degrees in each discipline.  It was there that I learned my passion for public policy based on facts and community involvement, not on partisanship.

 
Service to the Community
 

It were those college years that I began to truly understand and value public service.  My classmates elected me Class President my first two years.  As a de facto member of the Student Senate through the presidency, I chaired the Organizations Committee and later the Budget Committee.  Because of my personal background and expertise in stretching a dollar, I was able to shepherd our student body through a dire financial crisis my sophomore year, all while shattering fundraising records for the Class of 2009.

 

Seeing that hard work pays off and that my peers had an incredible amount of faith in my leadership, I ran and was elected President of the student body my junior year.  It was there that I was able to build a strong coalition of professors, students, organizations, and administrators that tackled tough matters such as:

 
  • Guaranteeing on-campus housing equity
  • Reforming campus social event policy
  • Improving Town/Gown relations
  • Combating underage drinking, drug and alcohol abuse, and drunk driving
  • Bolstering campus security
  • Increasing student participation and leadership in campus academic, administrative, and social affairs
 

That year was challenging but fulfilling.  At the end of my first term, I was ready to step aside and let a successor build upon all of our accomplishments.  However, my peers approached me and urged me to run for reelection, bucking a decades-old tradition of only serving one term.  In March, 2008, I was reelected with more than 80% of the vote in one of the largest turnouts in recent campus voting history.  For the next year, we continued to remain true to serving the entire campus community while tackling those issues that directly affected our academic and co-curricular success.  I’m proud to see my legacy live on when I return to campus today.

 

All the while, I helped found and was initiated into the Omicron-Phi Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, an international men’s social fraternity with zero-tolerance on hazing and a commitment to scholarship, leadership, fellowship, and service.  Our Chapter at Washington College always has been and remains the men’s fraternity with the highest GPA.  When not taking advantage of academic opportunities and engaging in social programs, my Fraternity Brothers and I assist with those philanthropic activities that fund research for breast and prostate cancers, raise money for the Fisher House and the Military Heroes Campaign to benefit our veterans, and mentor children in our community (just to name a few things).  As an alumnus, I serve as the District Vice President of Operations & Conduct Compliance, supporting our Chapters at UMCP, Towson, Salisbury, Washington College, and the University of Delaware.

 

Since 2011, it has also been an honor and pleasure serving as the Anne Arundel County Young Democrats Treasurer.  Being responsible for the finances, I worked with a passionate Executive Board to more than triple our cash-on-hand while holding accountable every penny received and spent.

 
Career
 

From January, 2009, to May, 2013, I served as staff to legislators in the Maryland House of Delegates.  It all began when Delegate Pamela G. Beidle, our very own leader from District 32, took me under her wing as her Legislative Intern for the 2009 Legislative Session.  In December, 2009 then-Delegate Roger Manno (now a State Senator) hired me as his Legislative Director.  After the 2010 elections, I opted to remain in the House of Delegates, where I joined Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk's team as her Chief of Staff.  All three assignments were truly an honor, for they are dedicated to honorable service to their respective constituencies.  Additionally, it was there that my education in college through both academics and campus involvement was exposed to real-world and meaningful service to our communities.  It was a challenge, but it was incredibly fulfilling to support three different legislators over the years as they met their ombudsperson duties, advocated for legislation, and connected with their constituencies to ensure accountability and responsiveness.  I also learned exactly how to work with different stakeholders across the entire political spectrum in order to compromise and produce the best solution to our everyday problems.  When leaving in May, 2013, I truly appreciated the fact that I no longer looked at issues as "liberal" or "conservative", but rather pragmatically – identify what the issue is, consider all of the relevant information, listen to and consult with stakeholders, and determine what the best approach to resolving said issue is.

 

Working in Annapolis was exciting and rewarding, but I felt that it was time for a change.  Desiring more of a focus on public relations and publication design, I looked through State jobs because I desire to live a life in the public service realm.  After many interviews, I was hired to serve the Executive Director at the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, the state agency charged with enforcing Maryland’s anti-discrimination laws in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state contracts.  It is wonderful being able to wake up every day to connect with citizens and business owners dedicated to a Maryland that truly is “The Free State” through the elimination of unlawful discrimination in our borders.

 
Decision to Run
 

My decision to run was not an easy one to make.  Anne Arundel County is fortunate to have some of the hardest working officials in Annapolis.  After much inner reflection and many conversations with people in our communities, I decided that my experience, dedication, independence, pragmatism, and passion would complement and support our State delegation.  It is an honor to run for this incredible role, and I hope to be able to serve you and make you proud in Annapolis.  Sincerely and from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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