I grew up in a poor family one generation removed from subsistence farming. Mom’s parents moved to Little Rock from Benton, Arkansas so my Grandfather could take a job with the Missouri-Pacific railroad during the Great Depression. Dad left Mississippi to join the Air Force and met Mom while stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base. Mom had graduated from Central High School right before President Eisenhower sent the National Guard to enforce desegregation orders.
These hard-working folks grew chickens, cotton, watermelons, and whatever else they could scratch out of the ground. They did not own the land, and built no wealth. The men hunted for protein and I learned to shoot a rifle and clean a catfish before I entered my teens.
Mom loved to read and became the first in the family to attend college – as a single mom with three sons. I spent much of my youth in libraries while she earned a doctorate in three years and became an educator. After high school I ended up at William and Mary where I worked my way through about a semester a year until I ran out of money. So I enlisted in the US Army as an Armor crewman – tanker – to learn self-discipline and earn money to continue my studies. I learned to fight a tank in combat – and eventually became a tank commander and tank platoon sergeant. Still the best job I ever had.
I retired after 20 years, and thanks to the GI Bill I managed to complete degrees in political science, policy analysis, and international relations. This education helped me put together a decent second professional career as a defense and strategic services consultant. I spent most of my life serving my country in one way or another, and now I’m ready to bring my experience and skills to the table as Virginians, working together, construct the Commonwealth of the future. I’m ready to work with anyone who wants to help make Virginia a true Commonwealth that provides every Virginian the opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams.