Why I'm Running

I’m running for Congress because I believe America deserves better.  We are a nation of courage and strength, of a deep abiding belief in the hope of the American Dream, and we deserve leaders who embody our values of liberty, self-government, equality, individualism, diversity, and unity.

I believe we can move forward by choosing to fight for better outcomes. We need innovative solutions to create new jobs, educate for those jobs, grow our economy and give every Missourian – not just those born with a leg up – the opportunity to succeed.

I was raised by single mom who worked double-shifts and holidays to keep the lights on and food on the table. She chose to fight for a better future for my brothers and me, the same way I will fight for a better future for my kids and yours.

I understand the economic and financial freedom that comes with a good-paying job, health insurance security, and the ability to make one’s own decisions for his or her life. Today, as an attorney, I get to spend the holidays with my kids -- something my mother didn’t get to do while working overtime to keep a roof over our heads.

When I was a senior in high school, I was in a serious car accident and had to decide whether to accept the status quo or to fight for something better. When I woke in the hospital, doctors told me I would likely never walk again. I fought through surgeries, pain, and months of rehab. By the time I attended community college on a Pell Grant, I was regaining independence with the use of a wheelchair.  Two years after that, I started Southern Illinois University Carbondale without my wheelchair and leaning on a cane.  Two years after that, I had regained my independence, sense of self, and courage, to move to Los Angeles to attend law school at UCLA.

If we’re going to solve our problems, we too must choose to change. I’ll fight in Congress for solutions to an economy that is upside down and fraying at the seams. Opportunity is being denied at every turn. I believe in a future where the majority of Americans don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. The riches of our country are great enough to extend beyond the wealthiest 5% to all people working for their American Dream.

When I was a bankruptcy attorney, I saw families broken by debt and futures denied by unscrupulous lenders’ predatory practices.  Today I see laws helping those lenders more than they’re helping families manage debt.  

Helping manage a law firm, I’ve seen the red-tape and obstacles that face our small businesses. We have to support the entrepreneurial engine of our economy if we are to succeed and grow, and that means helping small businesses cut costs and regulatory burdens so they can pay their employees a living wage and provide needed benefits.

And we need to stop messing around with Affordable Care Act repeals.  Building a healthcare system that works for all Americans is the economically smart and the morally correct thing to do. I know better than most exactly what a “pre-existing condition” can mean, and we must not allow a return to the days of denying hard-working Americans accessible coverage for pre-existing conditions.

I believe that no challenge is too great for America, and that by working together, we can find the right solutions to healthcare and education, while reigniting a thriving middle class economy that takes care of our planet and our people.