North Carolina has given so much to me. I choose to give back to our state through my service.
From my early days when I helped form a volunteer neighborhood association, to my service on the City Council of Charlotte and now as a Representative in the North Carolina General Assembly, I have seen the strength of our state but I also have witnessed the challenges and obstacles we face. I believe that our problems must be addressed through unwavering leadership that builds on the best in our state. The people of North Carolina have taken some hard hits, on both a local and national level, because of political agendas and short-sighted special interests. Through my service, I want to continue to be the type of leader North Carolina deserves.
I’m a native Tar Heel, born in Fayetteville and grew up in Cumberland County, where I developed a devotion to my state and country. Despite a draft deferment during the Vietnam War, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1972, serving at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and with the 1st Marines at Camp Pendleton. Not only did my service allow me to afford college through the G.I Bill, but also my responsibility to country increased exponentially upon serving the brave POWs as they returned home.
After I attended college on the West coast, North Carolina lured me home 36 years ago because of the state’s budding film industry. I worked in the film industry for 26 years as a director, editor, camera operator and producer. I owned my own company for many of those years, producing client-based programming for major corporations.
During this time, I became very protective of our community and helped rally the neighbors together to create a volunteer neighborhood association. I saw firsthand how a small group of focused people who worked together could be effective to bring about positive change in the community. This experience inspired me to run for office, first for the Mecklenburg County Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors, then to the Charlotte City Council, where I was elected to three terms to serve my community in District 5. It was an honor to be elected in 2016 to serve District 100 in the North Carolina House of Representatives.
My interest in making the move from city to state government came after observing the prevalence of local preemption within the General Assembly, and the negative impact it has on our communities. Government is at its best when its closest to the people.
A representative from across the state, for example, doesn’t know what’s best for the water quality for the creeks and streams in Mecklenburg County. Another example is the shortsighted and morally wrong HB2 bill. As a globally competitive city, when corporations come to call in Charlotte, they want to know they are going to be able to recruit the highest quality candidates to grow their business, and sometimes that includes folks who don’t identify with their born gender. That company wants to be able to assure those candidates that no matter what their sexuality or how they identify themselves, that their civil rights are not going to be compromised because of who or how they live.
My other passions include music, cycling and movies. I have a guitar that I can make a lot of noise with and a drumset that I can drive my wife, Rebecca, out of the house with. On free evenings, you can find the two of us sitting on the sofa, watching a movie and holding hands.
The blended family that Rebecca and I have created is the most important thing in my life. I am blessed with six grandchildren and four children, who include an assistant district attorney, a foster parent who adopted two siblings, a physical therapist who is also a roller derby coach and a substance abuse counselor. When I’m gone, my legacy will be leaving better people than me in the world.
I ask for your support to shape the future of North Carolina, where all of our citizens can achieve all of their potential and build happy and productive futures for themselves.