I married by sweetheart Karilee over 35 years ago. We were blessed with four great kids born over a span of thirteen years, and it was a shock to realize we were sending one to college and one to kindergarten the same year! They all graduated from Puyallup public schools, two from Rogers and two from Emerald Ridge. Now we're in the grand-baby business with 2 beautiful granddaughters, and a new grandson born in June.
My first job was working for a moving company. I averaged 60 hours per week and was able to pay for the bulk of my college education. It taught me the value of hard work and attention to detail.
After earning my undergraduate degree in accounting, and then my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) I worked as a CPA and financial officer. A big life change occurred when I bought my own business with Jeffery Beardemphl. He and I were working together at a division of a Canadian company in Fife. We were both fired on the same day for refusing to follow unethical orders from corporate.
Together, we bought Valley Press in Puyallup in 2002 with some financial help from Bruce Dammeier. The purchase necessitated putting our home at risk as security for a necessary bank loan. We struggled through the economic downturn and recovery post 9/11, as well as the 2008 housing bubble, but eventually grew the renamed Print Northwest from 20 people to over 160.
Looking back on my career in the private sector, I think living by ethical standards contributed to much of my success. Now I've been able to retire and have time to give back to a community that has given so much to me and my family.
As I write this, I've just returned from a memorial service for my mother who passed away in June, and it's causing me to reflect on her example. She lived a life of public service, and I now realize that I've just been following in her footsteps.
Since moving to Puyallup 20 years ago, I have served in the leadership of my church, and on a variety of Puyallup and Sumner School District committees, as well as a unit leader and Council Board Member for the Boy Scouts.
On the Political front, I have worked hard to bridge the partisan divide. In doing so, I have served in the following capacities:
• Board member of League of Women Voters where I helped organize a "Co-Lab" on homelessness and developed a "Homelessness Bibliography" of books/articles on what has and has not worked in addressing the problem.
• Better Angels where I served as state coordinator of this great organization that sponsors workshops to promote open and civil communication between red and blue leaning citizens and politicians.
• No Labels where I served as state volunteer coordinator for an organization whose mission is to combat partisan dysfunction in America.
I ran as an independent last year in the partisan state primary where the Democrat and Republican moved on to the general election. This year I was motivated to run for city council because it's a non-partisan election, but ironically, the Republicans took an unprecedented move to field a slate of candidates anyway. The Democrats responded by endorsing me.
I am dedicated to representing all perspectives, and without the big-money influence my opponent is receiving from developers. My hope is that on council, I can live up to the description Amazon gave my book "Political Gridlock: It's Time for a Reboot!" which they described as "... a businessman's perspective. In Political Gridlock, he looks at Congress through the eyes of an efficiency expert and considers why it isn't working the way it should. He doesn't concern himself with whether it produces tax reductions or affordable health care; he investigates why it produces so little of either. The book examines factors that are unrecognized and ignored by political pundits but that empower political extremes, allowing them to block constructive legislation. It is also the how-to manual on how to reboot our government. It evaluates the obstacles to effective governance and suggests solutions for each. In plain language, Political Gridlock outlines the steps necessary to reclaim Congress and get government working again. It is a book Americans have been waiting for."
I spent the summer and fall knocking on doors throughout Puyallup's District 3, asking voters about neighborhood concerns. I learned that residents are very concerned about traffic, including worries about Shaw Road, as well as new retail and warehouse construction. I also share the frustration people expressed about homelessness and their desire to develop a comprehensive plan to address it.
I am looking forward to working with fellow council members to become more civil, functional and effective on the job. My goal is to listen attentively to all city residents, and be an effective voice for them on the city council. For four solid years, I want to be the hardest worker, representing District 3 and the City of Puyallup with full dedication.
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