Restoring the American Dream

Growing up on my family’s farm in central Illinois, I often looked to the horizon and dreamed about the future. This great country gave me the opportunity to chase my version of the American Dream, and I did—becoming an aerospace engineer and working on cutting-edge space systems at Boeing and SpaceX.

Because of the opportunities I’ve been afforded, I’ve always looked for ways to help the next generation get those same opportunities. This desire led me to teaching at a low-income charter school, volunteering for charities around the world, and leading a local non-profit that feeds hungry children across Champaign County.

These experiences have shown me how much we’ve lost our way in politics. The divisiveness, the ambition, the negativity—politicians using fear and outrage to win elections. None of this solves problems. None of this helps everyday people.

I’m running for Congress because I’ve had enough—it’s time we changed the narrative. It’s time our leaders stopped playing politics and instead focused on working together to find solutions that make people’s lives better, so they can build their own American Dream.

We need to stop the surging crime and violence in our communities. This will take much more than slogans. We have to address the immediate emergency and combat violence by ensuring our law enforcement has the funding and support they need.

Then, we do the hard work of solving the root problems. We have to stop bad policies that will only serve to increase crime, like defunding the police and releasing dangerous criminals back onto the streets. Our local mental health providers need to partner with law enforcement to keep social and emotional emergencies from becoming police matters. We should promote more community-based policing to increase trust between families and their police. And we must shut down the school-to-prison pipeline in our cities and promote youth development programs.

It’s time we invested in our future. We need to rethink our education system because it’s a different world today. Our kids need skillsets to thrive into the future. And no matter if they live in Champaign-Urbana, East St. Louis, or any of the other rural or metro areas between them, they deserve opportunities and hope for the future—but right now, we’re falling short.

If we teach our children critical thinking, give them real world experiences instead of memorizing dates and numbers, they will be empowered. They’ll see problems and know they can solve them. They’ll start exciting new careers and businesses. They’ll be our future community leaders. This is how we make their lives, and our communities, better.

We must innovate our economy to provide opportunities for everyone. We can solve the biggest, most pressing challenges of the day by promoting innovation and new technology rather than the heavy hand of government imposing regulations.

With record inflation, we are reminded daily of the fiscal failures of our federal government. Congress has to balance the budget by being much more targeted with spending and eliminating waste. We also must ensure our trade agreements are fair for American workers and farmers. Our leaders need to enact thoughtful policies that help working families thrive.

I am the best choice to represent you in the 13th District. Unlike the Democratic frontrunner, I am part of the local community. I grew up here on a centennial family farm, and I returned here to raise a family on the same farm and in the same house that I, my father, and my grandfather were all raised. It hasn’t been my lifelong ambition to be a politician, I haven’t spent my life in government—I’ve spent my life creating opportunities for the next generation.

It’s time we stopped letting politics and negativity get in the way of helping everyday people. It’s time we restored the American Dream.