I was born and raised in Middle Georgia, in both Warner Robins and Macon by a single mother. For most of my childhood, she worked two, sometimes three jobs just to make ends meet to provide for our family, instilling in me the value of hard work. We were fortunate that my grandparents could watch me while she worked.
After he retired, my grandfather took up farming on a side are of land. He grew tomatoes, corn, snap peas, and other assorted crops. Today, he would be called a micro farmer. To him, he was just filling his days with productive work.
He would send his family home with bags of produce from his land. He also sold tomatoes on a roadside stand for extra money. I helped him work the land, pull weeds, really anything he needed. In exchange, I learned valuable lessons about hard work and productive purpose, which I have taken with me to this day.
I graduated from Central High School in Macon and Mercer University, married my wife of 15 years Rebecca, welcomed my daughter Abigail, and started my career all in 2002. I received my MBA from Wesleyan College in 2006. My son William was born in 2010.
In 2006, I became involved in our local Democratic Party chapter. I worked as a post seat holder for a few years before I was elected to represent my county to the Democratic Party of Georgia State Committee. In 2014, I was elected to represent all of the counties in the 8th Congressional District as the Congresssional District chair to the DOG Executive Committee.
My duties involved going throughout the district to help county committees. While traveling in the district, I became acutely aware of just how rural, agricultural, and poor the district is. I also became aware that rural and agricultural only mean poor because of flawed policies and people being ignored.
The late great Tommy Irvin served our state for decades as Agriculture Commissioner and serves as one of my political inspirations as a proud Georgia Democrat. My run for Agriculture Commissioner is all about restoring his legacy to the office, and bringing a renewed focus to addressing the pressing issues facing Georgia agriculture, Georgia families, and Georgia communities.