All my life, I’ve heard politicians in Sacramento and Washington promise to change the way they do business, and to take action to solve our most pressing problems.
When I was born almost thirty years ago, millions of Americans lacked access to health insurance, millions of families couldn’t afford to send their kids to college, and the scourge of discrimination kept even more Americans from realizing their dreams.
Thirty years ago, tens of thousands of veterans who answered their country’s call in Vietnam were already calling the streets their home, and thousands more would soon follow.
Thirty years ago, the United States was coming out of an unprecedented energy crisis, vowing to change the way we powered our nation.
And thirty years later, despite year after year of politicians promising change, these problems haven’t just gone unsolved–just about all of them have gotten worse.
For me, like most Americans who live and work far from the halls of government, these are not issues that live in the political abstract or as talking points used to sell hastily crafted budgets. They’re very real, very consequential, and very personal.
As the son of a single mother from Fairfield, I’ve lived the fight for a quality education (earning a Congressional Appointment to West Point), while facing the uncertainty of being without health insurance for most of my life. I served two tours as a combat platoon leader in Iraq, led recovery missions to help rebuild the lives of fellow citizens abandoned by their government in New Orleans and challenged the military’s failed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” policy here at home-even when it meant my career.
Ultimately, I’ve seen too many Americans pay a big price for the convenient choices of politicians. And I believe the only way to break this vicious cycle is to elect leaders who are willing to make the courageous ones.
That’s why I have come home to begin the process of forming a campaign to become the next Congressman from California’s 10th Congressional District.
In the weeks and months to come, I am looking forward to sharing my values, my vision, and my priorities for moving our district, our country, and our politics in a new direction.
And while standing up to an unjust policy cost me my dream of serving the country I love in the military just six months ago, that experience has only strengthened my resolve to fight for the solutions we all deserve—and with the real world sense of urgency that is too often missing from public debate on issues like universal healthcare, expanding economic opportunity, keeping faith with America’s veterans, and eliminating the cancer of inequality from the world’s greatest democracy once and for all.
I consider myself a proud member of the “Millenial Generation,” and though some will call me young, I have spent more time on the front lines of battles than most politicians do in a lifetime.
Like the “Greatest Generation’s” battles against economic depression, segregation, and World War, the Millenial Generation also finds itself at the crossroads of history.
I believe that we too have greatness within our grasp. But to seize it, we must be willing to forego the convenient politics of the past, to hold one another accountable for the difficult choices that lie ahead, and most importantly, to summon the courage of our convictions.
Together, I know we can.