My father was born and raised most of his childhood in Iowa. He’s a United States Marine who served three tours in Vietnam, and who has recently been royally screwed over by the VA. He’s my number-one motivation to run for office and start to fix things for our nation’s veterans. He’s not my only motivation, but doing right by our nation’s veterans is at the top of my priority list once I’m elected.
My mother was born and raised in Virginia. Her father, Norman Karn, was a fleet boxing champion in the US Navy during WWII. My mom taught me how to box, which is an interesting fact that often makes people giggle.
My parents are still alive, and still together, and my mother – who is a retired banker – is serving as my campaign’s treasurer. I love my parents very much, and they’ve been nothing but supportive of me regardless of what kind of nutty ideas I come up with, including my decision to run for congress.
I've lived in (or very near) District 39 my entire life. My parents moved to Chino Hills in 1977 when I was 3 months old, and I graduated from Ayala High School in Chino Hills in 1995. I played baseball and football growing up, but my real love was motorcycles. I raced motocross from about the time I was 10 until I was 18 or 19, and I've worked most of my life since then in the motorcycle industry as a journalist and photographer. I still ride motocross, and I'm still pretty good at it, although healing from broken bones in your 30s does take much more out of you than it does when you're in your teens. Oh, and I should mention here that I'm incredibly competitive. I hate losing.
I'm a massive fan of George Carlin, and throughout this campaign, it's likely you'll hear me quote him a lot. Generally speaking, I think he had things figured out in his later years. I take a lot of points from ol' George. Like Mr. Carlin, I also have a very dark sense of humor. But I promise that if I ever seem insensitive, it's actually the opposite: I'm so sensitive to terrible things that I have to make jokes about them in order to cope. It's sometimes known as Gallow's Humor, Dark Humor, or Black Humor. As such, you'll likely never see me offended.
I'm also a guitar player (who isn't?) and I play the blues, primarily (Muddy Waters is my guy, although I also love Stevie Ray Vaughan). I’ve never been the type of person who desires to “fit in,” so there’s little danger of me getting “sucked in” to Washington’s political system after I win this election.
Every word written on this website was written and edited directly by me. I also built this website entirely by myself, along with all of the graphics. The only part I didn’t do was take my picture, but since I’m a photographer, I did play a hand in setting up the lights. I take on new things myself rather than farm them out. A few years ago, prior to this adventure, I broke my Toyota Tundra’s V8 engine (long story, but it wasn’t Toyota’s fault) by putting too many modifications on it. So, I took it out myself, and rebuilt it with my own two hands, from the crankshaft out, only soliciting help from machine shops for milling the heads and things like that (which I couldn’t do myself), and from my wife, Erica.
This is the kind of person I am. I tend to believe that if you want something done right, you should do it yourself. This is a strength most of the time, but it can be a weakness as well. Just like all of you reading this, I’m a work in progress, and that’s one of the many things I’m working on within myself.
I’ve been married for 13 years to my wonderful wife, Erica, and we’re major dog-lovers. We’ve had three dogs during our marriage; a Chihuahua named Roxy whom we lost in early 2013, an 11-year-old American Bulldog named Gus, and a 6-year-old Bullmastiff named Gemma.
Marriage was a struggle early on, and we spent a few years separated. It was rough, but she and I both learned a lot about what it takes for a marriage to work, and some incredible circumstances I’m not going to get into here (but I may, if asked, on the campaign trail) urged us to give it another shot. Since then, I’ve been happier than I’d ever been before. Happier, in fact, than I believe most married couples would think is even a reasonable expectation. I won’t speak for her, but all indications make me believe the same is true for her. You can feel free to ask her when you see her.
We've been trying to start a family of our own for a few years now, but it hasn't quite worked out just yet. But we both adore (most) children, and if we're lucky enough to become parents, we'll be incredibly grateful.
I’m not volunteering this information because I think it’s pertinent for you as a voter/supporter, or for me as a candidate for congress, but I know that personal lives are a part of running for any public office like this, and I want you to know that honesty is a paramount concern for me.
I vouch to be honest at all times while campaigning, as well as in office. There are many reasons for this, but among them are: I don’t have the time, nor energy, to try and track what I say, or to whom I say it, etc. Lying is a lot of work, and it’s very stressful. Lying is wrong, without exception. And the foremost reason is that I’m running for office in order to change not just the culture of Washington, but how voters see their options on Election Day as well. I believe we, as voters, have come to expect politicians to be liars. I think that’s an accurate assessment, overall, but I don’t think it should be.
In a world full of lies, telling the truth can become a revolutionary act. (This is a quote often falsely attributed to the author George Orwell.)
In any form of democratic government, the truth is the one thing voters need to have in order to make informed decisions in the voting booth. Without that, we’re driving blind. Candidates are free to say they stand for things they don’t, just because those things are popular, and then once they’re in office, they’re free to go against those same ideals. When they do, we have absolutely no recourse for that except to vote them out the next time. The question then becomes: Who do we replace them with, and how do we do it? Because once they’re in congress, most of these people become entrenched with special-interest and corporate money, making them much harder to displace. And this is especially true when the alternative running against them is corrupt just like them.
And let’s call this what it is, shall we? Having big business and special interests funnel money through Political Action Committees (PACs) and parties to current and prospective elected officials is corruption. Plain and simple. I’m not taking money from any PACs whatsoever, or any parties for that matter. The money I need in order to win is going to have to come from the people I will represent. That’s you.
I’ve only ever belonged to one political party, and that was the Republican Party, which I left in 2002. I’ve never been a Democrat, or anything else. I don’t like to speak in absolutes, but if you were to ask me if I’d ever belong to any political party again, my answer would be as close to “never” as possible. The reasons for my leaving the party can be read here.
In fact, I’ve detailed the bulk of my philosophies and policy positions on this very website, under the “On The Issues” tab. If you go to that tab and find an issue that interests you, click on “Expand On That” and it will take you to a thorough explanation of my position, complete with sources for every single piece of data I claim. Even if you disagree with the brief statement of my position on the initial page – or, really, especially if you disagree with it – I’d really love for you to read my reasoning for it. That’s why I provided it. And all of the things I’ve stated are my actual positions. None of them are any sort of “political calculations.” I believe a lot of what we’re told by our media today is simply inaccurate, and I’d like for you to be open to changing your mind on some things, just as I’ve changed mine over the 15+ years since I left the GOP.
While the policy positions I’ve written about are important in terms of understanding what I want to do after I’m elected to congress, in terms of understanding who I am and how I think, I’d guess the most important points from that section of my website are my philosophy about parties and why I left the GOP (same link as above), and my philosophy entitled “Our Country Is Like A Bicycle.”
You’ll find as you read that I have very little faith in our federal government or its elected representatives, regardless of party affiliation. I believe the government is corrupt, dishonest, and doesn’t care about any of us whatsoever. For over a decade now, I’ve talked myself out of running for congress. I've made excuse after excuse. But in April of 2017, around the time I turned 40, I realized I had to run. I believe I’ve reached a point where I understand the big picture of the problems we’re facing in our government, and in our society, and I believe it’s my patriotic duty to grab the reins of this horse and try to get her pointed back in the right direction.
And because this is a duty – a public service – I am not undertaking it in order to become a career politician (that will be up to you, but I don’t plan to spend much time campaigning while I’m in office), or to become any wealthier than I am right now (I’m middle class). That’s why I’m donating all of my own congressional salary, above the median household wage in our district, back to the district, once I’m elected. In terms of gross wages, that comes to nearly $100,000 per year that I’ll be donating back to you, the taxpayers, in our district. So, if a school needs computers, or teachers need supplies, or a park needs grass, or a resident needs help paying medical bills... I’ll cover as much of it as I can with my congressional salary above the median in our district.
I also plan to hire all of my staff from our district, with priority going to my campaign volunteers who help me get elected in the first place. That will add up to nearly $1 million per year to the district’s economy by itself.
While I have no faith in our federal government, I have immense faith in people generally. I believe nearly all people are good people (at least 95%), with the only exception being people with major disorders/mental illnesses, such as sociopaths, who represent, at most, 5% of our population. I believe people are good. I believe nearly all people would stop and help an old lady if she fell, for example. We all have a goodness inside of us. But I also believe we’ve been misled long enough, and with concerted effort, to cause us to distrust each other, and to be defensive with people we don’t know. I believe the many issues we have in regard to racism, homophobia, misogyny, and any other prejudices we can name, are rooted in ignorance pushed by our media, and inadvertently by our society, which buys in to these media narratives.
Hatred isn’t natural. It’s cultivated.
I've been fortunate to travel the world for my job, and it's amazing how similar people are everywhere. They might look a little different, or believe in different things, but in the end, people are people.
I am you. You are me. We are the same. We all want the same basic things:
To feel like we matter; that our opinions and beliefs are important, and that we have the power to make the changes we want in our little part of the world.
To feel safe; that we, and our family and friends, are safe, and if there's danger, that we have the means and ability to protect ourselves and each other.
To feel that we belong; that we are part of something bigger and more important than ourselves, and that our community accepts us just as we are.
All of us are the same. People are people. The sooner we all begin to understand this, the sooner we can start to heal our society.
Ultimately, I’m running for office because I believe in the true definitions of fairness and justice, and our society today lacks both. I believe in honesty, hard work, and charity. I believe we all do. I believe that we, as citizens, have become derelict in our duties, believing that all that is required of us as citizens is to vote. Our duties go far beyond checking a few boxes every 2 or 4 years.
I believe that, together, you and I can start our nation back down the path of truth, justice, and fairness. I believe we can do it. I know we can do it.
I also know that we’ve been sold this “hope” and “change” stuff in almost every election in the past 40 years, and things have largely only gotten worse. I understand why you might not believe me when I say I'm different. I might not believe me if I were you, either.
But I want you to know that, like you, I’m angry. I’m fed up. I’m tired of taking part in a rigged system. I’m tired of being told what to do by people who have no desire to know who I am, what I stand for, or what problems I’m facing in my life. We do not have “representation” in Washington, or Sacramento. We have rulers. We have people in office who believe they are the authority.
They’re not. We are. And it’s time to make that fact clear to them, before it’s too late.