Iowa State Senator
I work for you, plain and simple. Much of the manufactured drama of our day is designed to divide us, rather than unite us around a common purpose of prosperity for all. Being personally responsible, creating opportunity for all and having a deep sense of community are my guiding values as your Senator. Treating people decent, doing my homework and solving problems is my focus.
Firefighting, Family & Fun
I’m a Cedar Valley kid, through and through. That’s why I mean it when I say the Cedar Valley is the best place in Iowa to live, work and play. I know, I’ve lived it. I was born in Waterloo and attended local schools in Cedar Falls and Waterloo.
After graduation from Central High in Waterloo in 1988, I joined the Navy. Kim and I first met at Edison Jr. High and later married, making us a Navy family.
I served from 1988 to 1994, completing deployments to the western Pacific and the Persian Gulf, earning the Navy Good Conduct, Armed Forces Expeditionary, Southwest Asia and National Defense Service medals. I left the Navy as a Petty Officer 2nd Class to come home with Kim and our son Brendan.
Back home, while working and raising a family, I utilized the G.I. Bill to earn an Associate of Arts from Hawkeye Community College, a Bachelors of Arts in Public Administration (Summa Cum Laude), a minor in Leadership Studies and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Northern Iowa. Throughout my college career, I was a Golden Key International Honor Society member and earned UNI’s Purple & Old Gold award for meritorious scholarship as the highest grade point (3.96) graduate in the Public Administration program.
Being able to serve my community as a fire fighter is a privilege I do not take for granted. I began working as a fire fighter for the City of Cedar Falls while completing my graduate degree at the University of Northern Iowa and continue to work as a fire fighter while serving in the Iowa Senate.
I returned to UNI in 2006, this time to teach future generations as Professor of Public Policy. My family and I are strong supporters and fans of UNI athletics and activities and try to attend as many games/events as possible. I try to continue serving our community by volunteering for several community boards, commissions & organizations, including:
- Iowa Department of Transportation Commission
- City of Waterloo’s Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission
- Hawkeye chapter of the American Red Cross
- UNI Leadership Advisory Board
- Black Hawk Economic Development, Inc.
- Lifetime member of the Cedar Falls Amvets Post #49
- UNI Alumni Association
- Waterloo Exchange Club
- Cedar Falls Firefighters Association
- Iowa Firemen’s Association
- Waterloo Elks Lodge #290
- International Association of Fire Fighters
As a fire fighter and State Senator, I feel a strong responsibility to serve the people of the Cedar Valley to the best of my ability and remain active in our community. I enjoy attending community events like Iowa Irish Fest, Hudson Days, Sturgis Falls, My Waterloo Days and countless other events that highlight what makes our communities great.
When I am not at the fire house, I also enjoy staying physically fit and active. I enjoy playing golf at any of the quality public golf courses around the Cedar Valley and taking my dog, Coco (a 100lb chocolate lab), for walks on one of the many trails or parks around the Cedar Valley. As a former Navy man, I also exercise and try to take responsibility for my own personal health and wellness. It is often difficult to find the time, but I do think it is important that we all take time to take care of ourselves physically, and have worked hard to ensure our community has the trails, work out facilities and other quality of life amenities.