I bring to the table a broad base of experience, the kind of experience to understand the needs our government must address and the real-life experience to make effective change.
For over twenty-two years, serving as a firefighter/paramedic with the Des Moines Fire Department, I saw first hand the impact of poverty, crime, and illness suffered by ordinary people. Members of the DMFD assisted individuals in their greatest times of need. My knowledge of these issues comes first hand, not simply related through statistics or the stories of others. I’ve personally seen families struggle to survive the ravages untreated mental illness takes on the entire family. I have seen the impact of children struggling in poverty. I know these issues first hand, not in the abstract.
My most recent twenty-two years have been spent in the practice of law. I practice surrounded by working families in the same blue-collar neighborhood in which I grew up. In my practice assisting these hard-working families, I have seen when our system works well and when it fails miserably. I know the connection between dropping out of school and the increased likelihood of winding up behind bars. I have seen our jails and prisons become warehouses for the untreated mentally ill. And I know it does not have to be that way.
An education in Public Administration and the law have given me the tools and skills to address the problems associated with inadequate education or the lack of marketable skills to earn a living wage. My experience assisting individuals and families with legal needs has given me insight into the need for stronger support for the state institutions designed to give our citizens the kind of support they need to stand on their own as contributing members of our community.
Understanding the laws proposed and passed by our legislature, along with many of their unintended consequences, is essential to correcting their failures. Having the skills and experience to craft and negotiate solutions between individuals or groups with competing interests is a necessity to achieving meaningful and effective solutions.