My parents, Tom & Laurie, and my sister, Katy
My parents, Tom & Laurie, and my sister, Katy

When my sister and I were growing up in Colorado Springs in the 1980s, being part of the middle class meant having the opportunity to build a life and follow our dreams, wherever they would take us. Our parents were working hard and paying off their student loans, and we were going to good public schools and enjoying childhood in the most beautiful state in our country. We were taught that hard work, honesty, and dedication were all we needed to get into college, get good jobs, and live happy, productive lives.

I don’t take the opportunities I had for granted. When I started college at CU Boulder, I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew I needed to work hard until I figured it out. I had always been interested in architecture and the built environment, so I studied Architectural Engineering and learned about structural, mechanical, and electrical systems, as well as architecture, construction management, and renewable energy.

In 2002, I was on CU’s team at the first ever Solar Decathlon – an event where we competed against 13 other universities to design and build the best solar home. Our team won first place.

After college, I began my career as a structural engineer and bought a townhome in Lakewood, where I still live. Over nearly six years, I engineered projects all around the metro area – from houses to condo complexes, from small office buildings to huge warehouses.

In my free time, I tried to take advantage of everything Colorado had to offer. I got up into the mountains as often as possible for snowboarding, hiking, camping, biking, and tubing. I explored the restaurants, breweries, and music venues around the metro area. I even started my own rock band.

I felt extremely fortunate to have a good job, but after a few years I began to realize I needed to make a change. I was frustrated with the political leaders who didn’t seem to be taking on the big problems facing our state and country. I could no longer stand on the sidelines and watch the erosion of the middle class, the squandering of our federal budget on wars and handouts to special interests, the destruction of our environment, and the denial of equal rights to so many of our citizens.

I engineered the glass-and-aluminum curtain wall at the main entrance of the Belmar movie theater.

I started taking night classes at CU Denver in political science and volunteering for local candidates and campaigns. Before long, I left engineering behind and devoted myself to a career to public service. I worked for many local elected leaders who inspired me and showed me how much can be accomplished by working hard and standing up for what’s right. I am incredibly proud of the work I did to support legislators like Max Tyler and Ed Perlmutter who fight every day to grow the middle class, invest in our public education system, expand our renewable energy economy, and ensure equal rights and opportunities for all.

There are many ways to contribute to making the world a better place. Teachers, doctors, and firefighters help people every day, one by one. Manufacturers, engineers and construction workers build the community we all share. Entrepreneurs and innovators keep our Colorado economy growing, creating opportunities for workers and investors. Political leaders – the good ones, at least – work on many different issues to find balance, compromise, and solutions that work as well as possible for as many people as possible.

I’m running for the Colorado House of Representatives because I want everybody to have the kinds of opportunities I’ve had – to work hard and pursue their dreams, whatever they may be. With your support, I would be honored to keep working hard to preserve and grow the middle class and our beautiful state for the next generation of Coloradans.

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