I Will Protect and Strengthen Our District
I know this community, I was born and raised here. I have been a police officer in this district for more than 20 years and now I’ve been appointed State Senator representing the 56th legislative district. We are not Chicago and I’m proud of that. We are a community of hard working families and those families make this district great. The state is built on the backs of hard-working people, and it’s time we get what we are owed.
As a State Senator, I will fight to make sure our communities are safe, we have good, well-paying jobs, and we’re not crushed by high inflation and even higher taxes. I will continue to prioritize reducing crime and supporting the men and women in law enforcement, increasing funding and investment in our local economies and infrastructure, securing high-paying jobs to fuel our workforce, and reducing costs for consumers while reigning in taxes that never seem to pay off for our communities.
Our police officers can’t keep us safe if we’re soft on crime and let people off the hook for breaking the law. We have to let criminals know there are consequences and that they face penalties for their actions. As a Deputy Commander on the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis I commanded complex investigations into some of the most heinous murders occuring in our region. While supervising our area’s elite team of homicide detectives I personally led the charge to ensure those predisposed to hurting others were held accountable and taken off the streets. I will continue to lead that charge in Springfield. This district has and always will support the police.
As State Senator, I plan to give local law enforcement the resources they need to do their jobs. We must show our support and ensure there is funding to allow for the continuous improvement of their craft through training and innovation. I will work with police leaders to develop strategies that attract the best candidates possible. I will fight to ensure our law enforcement heroes are compensated in a manner that is commensurate with the danger they face and the high level of skill they must possess.
Helping First Responders Engage with Community Members
As a police officer, I spearheaded a program that helps those with communication barriers when they interact with first responders. Now, when someone with a communication barrier is in crisis, first responders will be notified of that barrier preemptively, preventing misunderstandings that can escalate in dangerous and tragic ways.
This program has helped people with dementia, families with autism and the hearing impaired by notifying first responders of the barrier so they can anticipate a communication issue. I saw it as an investment in the wellbeing of our community and I will continue to support legislative efforts that aim to improve the service our first responders offer our community members.
Caring for families of first responders
Our men and women in law enforcement, fire services, and emergency services, place themselves in danger each and every day to ensure those in our community are safe. Tragically, some have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others. I will continue my advocacy for first responders who are injured or killed in the line of duty and work to ensure their families never have to worry about how they will pay the bills while dealing with such an unimaginable tragedy. This is what I have done for nearly two decades and I will continue to carry that torch as your Senator.
Mental Health Resources
There are many incarcerated inmates who should be in mental health institutions but are instead left in our jails because of a lack of space and funding for mental health resources. This means they aren’t getting the care they need which can lead to dangerous escalations with our corrections officers.
As a Jail Administrator, I have seen this first hand, which is why I have been advocating for years for mental health resources in the Madison County Jail. The state can do much better for those suffering from mental illness. As your Senator I will fight to ensure those who need mental health resources are able to obtain the care they need instead of allowing our current broken system to ignore their circumstances and keep them locked away.
I’m a proud gun owner and believe in protecting our 2nd amendment right to own and carry firearms. Owning a gun is our right, and we shouldn’t need to jump through bureaucratic hoops to protect ourselves. Gun ownership is a right that I will protect for all responsible adults.
2018: Recognized by Guns & Hoses for my contributions to assist families of first responders killed in the line of duty
I was raised by a single mother and know first hand what it means to pull yourself up by your bootstraps because I saw her do it. Her work ethic, courageousness and passion to serve those in need inspires me every day and led me to a life of service. As State Senator, I will always advocate for helping families and the most vulnerable in our communities.
I know how difficult it can be for struggling parents, working multiple jobs, and just trying to make ends meet. My family relied on welfare and we experienced having to decide whether to get groceries or pick up a prescription. I want to be a resource to families like mine, which is why I am committed to collaborating with legislators on both sides of the aisle to create policies that ease the financial burden on families while improving quality of life. Because poverty isn’t a partisan issue and we should be able to work as a state to make sure children don’t grow up not knowing when their next meal will be.
Taxes are too high in Illinois and everybody knows it. Families shouldn’t have to drive over the border to Missouri just to buy cheaper gas. If we keep going down this road, more people will leave permanently and our communities just won’t be the same. As State Senator, I will push to reduce taxes for families throughout Illinois.
Working families are getting clobbered by inflation and they’re taxed enough already. That’s why I’ll support legislation in Springfield that gives middle-class homeowners a property tax refund, helping families keep more of what they earned.
With overseas supply chains breaking down, it’s more important than ever to buy American and build what we need here. There is no better place to lead this charge than right here in Illinois–in our district–but to do this we must first invest in better transportation from our inland ports.
The Mississippi River is like a highway, and I believe it is being underutilized. I will work in Springfield to bring investment here so that Southern Illinois can be a pathway for commerce and an opportunity that will bring more well-paying jobs to our communities.
Investment in infrastructure is critical, and I will fight tooth and nail in Springfield to make sure that your tax dollars come back here to the 56th district. It’s time for Chicago to share the wealth and give us our due. Investment will help us improve transportation and allow us to develop the riverfront which is another opportunity for growth in tourism and commerce in the 56th district.
Schools are anchors in our communities. They help care for our children and are a resource to families. It is important that we adequately fund them so they can continue operating at the highest standards and providing the best care and education to our children. I am a product of the public school system and that is why I will always support more funding for our schools from the State. Property taxes can’t be the only source of school funding. I will push to make sure that the state gives us more instead of putting pressure on homeowners.
Teachers work hard every day to educate and inspire our children. Their pay should reflect the work they do, which is why I support raising teacher salaries. The forced pandemic shutdowns have been hard on us all, but especially on teachers, who have long been underpaid. I, like many others, was mentored and influenced by great educators who invested in their students. The state must make the same kind of investment in our teachers. I will fight for teachers and get them the pay they deserve.
Paths to good-paying jobs
College should be readily available and so should trade and vocational schools.We must promote and invest in our vocational and trade programs so we have future generations of skilled workers. The building trades drive our economy and are well-paying professions with great benefits. We need to do more to introduce our young people to the possibilities and opportunities available to them. I will work hard in Springfield to secure funding for our higher education programs and ensure that students have a variety of options that lead to good jobs.
My mother’s time working as a CNA at a nursing home inspired me to help seniors. I became an elderly service officer for the seniors in our community and encouraged my colleagues to do the same.
As soon as I had the resources available to me, I leveraged my relationships and created Madison County TRIAD to help seniors and let them know they are not alone. Our volunteers do telephone check-ins with isolated seniors and help them feel connected.
Our senior citizens are treasures and represent everything about our country that is great. Our seniors have spent their lifetime working hard, raising their families and serving their communities. It is our obligation to take care of them and provide them with the resources they need to thrive in their golden years. I will continue to tirelessly advocate for our seniors as State Senator.
2014 & 2018: Recognized as an “Outstanding Elderly Service Officer” by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office
Unions are the tried and true way of ensuring well paying jobs and security for hard working men and women. I was fortunate to become a union member early in my adult career. Coming from a family that struggled financially, the union gave me something I had never had before, a good wage, great benefits, and a bright future.
I’ve been a union member in Madison County PBPA #118 for 23 years. As a correctional officer, my wife has been a member of PBPA #118 for 6 years and previously she was a member of AFSCME for 19 years. Our son, a Wood River Police Officer, is also a member of a union. We’re a union household, and it has allowed us to continually provide for our family. I will never forget or take for granted what unions have done for me and my family. That’s why I will always support unions, protect pensions and strengthen collective bargaining power.
Veterans are our nation’s heroes and I honor their service and patriotism. Veterans deserve not only our thanks, but also the resources and dedication they’ve been promised for the sacrifices they’ve made. My family has a proud history of military service. Most recently my son served with honor in the US Army.
I will always be a champion for veterans in Springfield. I will fight for better transition services, career pathways that make use of the skills veterans learn while in the service, and safe and dignified care for senior veterans. We owe a great debt to our Veterans for their bravery, patriotism, and selfless service. As State Senator, I will work to ensure our veterans have everything they deserve.