Since graduating college and starting out in the world, service has been at the center of my life and it is a driving force in my desire to be a Washoe County Commissioner. From teaching young people, to participating in our democracy, to starting and running a neighborhood nonprofit, community service is my way of being the change in the world.
As a science teacher I sought to inspire young people with a love of learning and critical thinking skills. I taught in a variety of settings across the country including a residential high school for at-risk youth in Colorado, inner-city San Francisco, small-town New Hampshire, subbing in Denver, and finally at Reno’s High Desert Montessori Charter School where my wife and I designed and started the middle school program. My service to youth continued when I took a job as the educational director of the Great Basin Institute where I developed the Great Basin Naturalists program.
This spirit of service has extended to our democracy when I worked as the northern Nevada field director in a get-out-the-vote campaign in 2004, as a two-time Neighborhood Advisory Board appointee for Ward 3 in Reno, and as a poll worker doing my part to ensure fair elections in 2020 amidst the uncertainty of Covid.
And service has been embedded in my work with our nonprofit Be the Change Project since my wife and I started it in 2011. Being the change has meant rehabbing a broken down house in a diverse neighborhood. It’s meant collecting food for those in need with Mountain Ministries in our old pickup truck twice a week for ten years. It’s meant living simply with a small ecological footprint and growing tons of organic food on our half-acre, Permaculture-based homestead. It has been leading mural projects with high schoolers and former taggers to combat graffiti on Wedekind Drive and build community pride. It’s meant starting Reno’s first compost collection business because soil building is climate action.
Being the change has been building Nevada’s first single-family home to be part of a community land trust for affordable housing because working class people need quality, affordable housing. It’s starting the Reno Garlic Fest because local food and farmers are glue for our communities. It’s been putting on Artown concerts in Pat Baker Park and going holiday caroling on our block for eight years because life’s better when neighbors know each other. It’s meant distributing 15,000 articles of Patagonia clothing to organizations serving the poor, veterans, and foster children. It’s meant sampling the Truckee River for microplastics and working with DRI because the Truckee River is sacred to this region. And it’s meant raising two boys within a life of service and gratitude and the strong belief that anyone can be the change they want to see in this world.
A dedication to service has defined my life and will continue to do so as County Commissioner for District 3.