My father once told me to be thankful for what I have and work hard for what I don’t.
He was an ironworker and U.S. Army veteran. My mother was a preschool teacher. My brothers and I were raised on a farm in the Sacramento River Delta where we grew corn in the summer, alfalfa in the fall and mischief the rest of the year. We were as poor as you could be and still be considered middle class, but we were happy. Dad was a union man, Ironworkers Local 378, and he taught me that working people only have power when they stick together. Mom taught me to be honest with myself and that the best way to solve a problem is head-on. They imbued me with the idea that we are all stronger when we help one another, which is part of what inspired me to take an interest in my community at an early age.
In my sophomore year at Rio Vista High, I re-started our old high school newspaper and had a weekly show on the local KRVH radio station. I worked on the farm in the summer and started my first business doing yard work and hanging Christmas lights on homes. After attending San Joaquin Delta Community College for a year, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the prestigious journalism school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I attended UNC mostly on academic scholarships and made extra money by working two jobs in between classes. While in college, I played rugby, participated in several clubs and began writing for area newspapers and magazines. After graduating, I started working as a copy editor and reporter for various newspapers on the East Coast and in California. My career as a journalist stretched roughly 12 years. In that time, I learned to be relentless in searching for the truth and that a reputation for honesty is your most valuable asset.
I moved to Sonora roughly a decade ago and started working for the Union Democrat as a reporter and later as Deputy Editor. I covered many important stories related to Tuolumne County government reorganization, Tuolumne Utilities District and the closing of Tuolumne General Hospital. I left the Union Democrat in 2013 and started working for Tuolumne County Behavioral Health as an analyst. My time at Behavioral Health gave me a clear perspective on three key challenges facing our county: mental health support, substance abuse and homelessness. One of my accomplishments there involved undertaking the data-based study to track the rising rate of opiate abuse in our community.
I began volunteering at for the Tuolumne County Library around the same time and eventually I began working there part time. I worked in the main and Twain Harte branches and I enjoyed helping our citizens make use of the many great facilities that are available in our county library. I would help job-seekers write resumes and submit online applications, and I would help students with their research projects. Perhaps the most rewarding part of my job was that it afforded me the opportunity to work with children, and to share my love of books and learning with the next generation.
Since 2016, I have been helping the Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services build and implement a program to offset the dangerous effects of the western pine bark beetle and the resulting death of thousands of trees near our homes and roads. With the help of our phenomenal county staff, and in coordination with state and federal agencies like CAL FIRE, Cal OES and the US Forest Service, our department has successfully administered millions in tree mortality funds and removed more than 7,000 hazardous dead trees. I took the lead in applying for more than $1.6 million in California Climate Investment funding to remove fire fuels along our county roads, and create defensible space around our homes. I love my job, and every day I strive to find ways to keep my friends and neighbors safe, while being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. I will, however, leave my job and focus on being a full-time supervisor if elected.
Put simply, I have fallen in love with Tuolumne County. I married my wife, Hallie, at St. Patrick’s Church on Bradford Street. We purchased a house surrounded by trees off of Phoenix Lake Road and are building a life together. We have three young and rambunctious daughters: River, Chloe and Evangeline and I have one adult son, Tim. I truly believe that with hard work and perseverance, our community can accomplish anything.