I was born and raised in Snohomish Washington, and I am the youngest of eight kids in a family that struggled to make ends meet. I was able to succeed and go on to college largely due to elected leaders who made tough choices on issues that weren’t politically popular – government assistance, food stamps, and state funded college grants. These programs, along with an outstanding public education system, provided me incredible opportunities.
I have worked hard in the State Legislature to preserve those same kinds of opportunities for kids across our state. Our greatest obligation is not to short-term solutions, but to long-term sustainability for our children and grandchildren. By making tough choices today, we can have a strong economy, a healthier environment, a world-class education system, and a strong safety net for vulnerable families. These create the substance of long-term success.
I attended Washington State University, where I met my wife Kim. We were both classroom teachers before attending graduate school together at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. After graduate school, we returned to Washington State, where I went to work for the State Senate and Kim became a high school counselor.
In my “day job” I work to create opportunities for learners of all ages by ensuring that we have one of the most robust and successful community and technical college systems in the nation. And as a former school board member, I know that we need a seamless education system from early learning to graduate degree programs to ensure that our citizens have access to the best education, the best jobs, and the greatest opportunity to achieve self actualization. We are competing against 7.2 billion people on this planet. Now is not the time for austerity approaches to education and training. Now is the time to put everything we have into our children! Kim and I live in Tumwater with our two wonderful children. Our son Carter is eleven and our daughter Kennedy is nine. They love school, soccer, theater, and Kennedy in particular loves to sing. Every day when I come home, I am reminded that our greatest responsibility in life is not to ourselves but to those who will inherit what we create.