I was born, raised, and graduated from Jacksonville High School. My post-high school training was at Midwest Technical Institute for professional welder and pipefitter. My first employment was a union welding job in Indiana. That job was taken by NAFTA, so I traveled on the road as a professional welder until returning to Jacksonville.
I got into politics because I don’t want others to suffer from what I have been through. I was in South Dakota fishing with a coworker when I got bit by a mosquito and contracted West Nile virus, which put me into a coma for two months.
Miraculously, I awoke. But awakening without insurance and a $321,639.93 intensive care bill was not what I expected.No one should bear the burden of a broken healthcare system. This occurs too often to others in my district and why I'm standing up to fight for our wellness with my candidacy.
I began a long journey toward recovery back in Jacksonville. Part of that recovery included getting accepted to the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services vocational training program. I became a Certified Welding Inspector and received endorsements for bridges, pipelines, and aerospace.
As a welder, I know the value of skilled trades and hard work ethics. Expanding investments in trade apprenticeships, unions, and technical training for more Americans to get these great careers is vital.
I had to be almost dead to get all these benefits and it shouldn’t be like that. Everyone should have the right to earn an education. It shouldn’t matter what your parents make or if you are disabled. People should have a chance for progress in life, no matter their background.
I am not a millionaire politician, just a regular person. I entered public service to fight for everyone enduring the injustices I've experienced, and then some. This is our opportunity to make meaningful change for people in the 100th District and across Illinois.