I was born in Atlanta Georgia, the sixth child of a Southern Baptist Father and a Roman Catholic Mother. Being raised as an Episcopalian, my parents taught me to respect everyone regardless of their religion, color, or sexual identity. My mother taught me that honesty is always the best policy and my father taught me patience, diligence, and temperance. He worked for the airline industry and after his first four children were born, he went to night school after work to get his law degree so that he could improve his family’s lives. From him I learned the value of hard work.

In 1984 my parents and I moved to WNC, where I helped my father build a home in Transylvania County. I enrolled at WCU and began studying business administration, and psychology. In December of 1986, my father passed away from cancer. This was very hard on me, as my father was the greatest man I have ever known. I continued to pursue my college education but found it very difficult to focus. During this time I began dating my future wife, Michelle, who grew up in Jackson County. Shortly after Michelle graduated from UNC-CH with a degree in Environmental Science and Engineering we moved back to Western North Carolina and got married at the Church of Good Shepherd in Cashiers. We moved to Asheville, bought our first house, and our son Isaac was born. At that time Michelle worked for Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation District while I stayed home caring for Isaac and studying for my real estate exam.

After receiving my real estate salesman license, Michelle and I purchased several distressed properties in the Asheville area and took part in the Urban Revitalization of affordable housing in Buncombe County. While restoring and renovating these older houses I gained an appreciation for old growth lumber, American Architecture, and True Craftsmanship. This inspired us to start a small recycling business with a mission to preserve a piece of the past, by reclaiming and re-using old growth lumber from structures that would otherwise by demolished or left to deteriorate. Over the last 20 years we have saved millions of board feet of lumber and thousands of tons of other materials from going into the landfills of Western North Carolina, while providing jobs for over 40 people. Over the last 34 years I have lived in Transylvania, Jackson, Macon, Haywood, Buncombe, and McDowell Counties and I have worked in almost all of the counties in the 11th district meeting many people and making lots of friends. I have learned what a struggle it is for hard working people to get by while the top 1% continue to get richer and richer and the rest of us keep paying for it.

Michelle and I have been members of Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Asheville for 17 years and we have raised our three children there and in the North Carolina public school system. Our two oldest children have both been accepted into the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, and now our oldest son, Isaac, is an honor student in the Chemical Engineering dept. at NC State University.

Since I started this campaign to run for office, I have made it no secret that I am a Christian. As I have traveled around the 11th district speaking to folks about who I am and where I come from, there have been a few people that have raised concerns about my expression of my faith, questioning how it will affect the way that I might govern. I want you to know that the separation of church and state is very important to me. One of the most important things that Jesus has taught me is to “love our neighbors as ourselves”. To me this does not mean love your Christian neighbors as yourself; it means love everyone as yourself. The virtues that I have learned through my faith include compassion, empathy, forgiveness, grace, honesty, respect, temperance, and a true love and concern for this awesome planet that we have been given to take care of. As a congressman, I want you to know that I will never support or vote for legislation that denies or takes away the equal civil rights of any American, regardless of their religion (or lack thereof), gender, ethnicity, income, or sexual identity. I refrain from using the word “race” as a designation because I believe we are all members of the same race, the Human Race. Also, I will never support or vote for any legislation that is meant to limit a woman’s reproductive rights.

Having lived in this district for 34 years, I know that there is no place that I would rather live and raise my family than this beautiful Western North Carolina. When I have traveled down east to visit Raleigh, Chapel Hill or the Carolina Coast, there is nothing more comforting to me than seeing the mountains begin to rise on the horizon ahead of me as I am coming home. I absolutely love Western North Carolina and the people who live here. This is why I am compelled to stand up for all people of the 11th District and ensure every single one of you has representation in the “People’s House.” It is your voice….I will be your microphone.