“I will work to represent YOU — by talking to you, listening to you, and working for you.”

These days, candidates try to figure out which issues test the best and then base their “beliefs” off of polls. We’ve gotten so far removed from what the Founding Fathers meant by representational democracy. Why not just go talk to folks and ask them: what do you want to see from your representative? Now, more than ever, we need real leaders who take responsibility, and who answer to us.

What I care about is real people problems. Making sure people can put gas in their truck and pay their rent — and go see the doctor when they’re sick. Getting rural broadband in place so that all of us have internet access, which we now need for non-traditional instruction, remote work, and telehealth. Legalizing medical marijuana for all those who are suffering and need that relief.

As we fight to get COVID-19 under control, we need to get the cost of healthcare down and put in place safeguards to make sure that health insurance plans are fair and cover the treatment people need. Providing a public option so that coverage is affordable for everyone. Lowering prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate, just like every other organization in the world. We should have made these changes long ago.

  • Graduated from Fleming County High School

  • Former Marine & police officer

  • Attorney

  • Lover of bluegrass music

  • Proud husband & father

We need to get real solutions in place to address the opioid epidemic. We have a generation of children being brought up without their parents. The companies who have made billions of dollars by sending billions of pills into Kentucky and creating a generation of addicts — it’s time for them to pay for what they’ve done. Penalties for those bad actors should be used to fund treatment centers right here in Kentucky.

I’ll also focus on ending corruption in Washington and making Congress work for the people. That means ending Citizen’s United, stopping gerrymandering by setting up independent, non-partisan commissions, and putting in place term limits. We need representatives who care about people, not corporations.  That’s why I’ve pledged I won’t take a cent of corporate PAC money — unlike our current representative, who has taken over $2.3 million from corporate PACs.

While Wall Street is booming, regular people have been left behind. I am running for Congress so that I can tell your stories, in your voice, and ensure that ordinary people have someone looking out for them. What I care about is real people problems. My priorities are:

People who get sick ought to be able to go get treated. Without the fear of bankruptcy, or not being able to pay rent.

The cost of healthcare is high and getting higher all the time. Monthly payments on that insurance are very high, and you may have a deductible that’s in the thousands of dollars, co-pays that you can’t afford, and prescriptions you can’t afford to fill. We have got to bring down the cost of healthcare.

In addition to that, we have to work on the power imbalance between a health insurer and a regular person trying to go and get treated when they don’t feel well. The insurance companies that offer these plans need to offer them at a reasonable rate with a reasonable deductible, and with a basic minimum level of benefits. And they shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions.

Increasing access to healthcare means having rural hospitals. We know for a fact how much they rely on federal and state programs — one of the big things allowing us to have a rural hospital is those federal programs like Medicaid and Medicare, not only for our elderly population but also for our poor folks, and our working poor. And without rural hospitals, instead of needing to get to a hospital 7 miles away, when you’ve had a heart attack or a tractor flipped on you, you’re going 70 miles to try to get help.

As your Congressman, I will work to reduce the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies (just like every other organization in the world can). I’ll work to ensure that those with preexisting conditions are able to retain their healthcare, and that insurers cannot discriminate against them. And I’ll fight to add a Medicare buy-in public option, so that everyone has the ability to enroll in affordable healthcare.

I know the importance of good public education, and of making postsecondary education affordable. When I went to Georgetown College, I had some scholarship money and some grant money, and I owed about $9,000 a year to go to school in 1996. So I left Georgetown College with debt, which I ended up having to pay off years and years later. Then, when I went to Morehead State University, I was on the GI Bill, which was just enough to pay for what would be a fraction of the total cost of someone who was attending on campus. I didn’t live on campus – I lived in my house in Maysville, where I was working full time at the police department, and drove 2 hours each way. So I was fortunate to be able to leave Morehead State without any debt.

But then I went to law school, and I took out another $60,000 in student loans. We need to get back to a world where you can actually afford to get a postsecondary education if that’s what you would like to do, but also recognize that we need good options besides 4-year college programs, too — like trade schools, workforce development, and jobs training programs.

Early childhood education is incredibly important for our communities, especially for working people. Not only does it give kids a leg up to start their education the right way, but it also gives mothers and fathers and family members an opportunity to join the workforce again because they’ve got a child who’s being taken care of in a learning environment. Every child should have access to early childhood education, including pre-kindergarten instruction and all-day kindergarten, and every family should have childcare and education options that don’t put a financial burden on the family.

We need to be funding primary and secondary education at the appropriate levels from the federal government. This is especially important in Kentucky where we have a budget crisis. There is a gap of $1,400 per student, in state and local funding per pupil, between the wealthiest and poorest areas of our Commonwealth. The gap today is nearly as big as it was before 1990 when we passed KERA (the Kentucky Education Reform Act). The federal government should help ensure that every child in Kentucky has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education.

We need to put some checks on the lenders who are preying upon young adults starting out in the world, loaning them exorbitant amounts of money, and then charging them exorbitant interest rates that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. I’ve got lots of friends who went and took out the very max. This is what ultimately has resulted in the student debt crisis.

I’m opposed to charter schools. It’s taking something that the government and the state has traditionally been in charge of and asking someone else to take a profit out of it. It’s a system designed to help those who are already ahead, and leave behind those who are struggling.

Our democracy has been corrupted by politicians who care more about their own power and corporate profits than actually representing the people who sent them to Washington in the first place. When you answer first to a pharmaceutical company, or the financial services industry, you aren’t looking out for regular folks.

My opponent has taken over 2.3 MILLION dollars in contributions from corporate PACs. That’s what they call “bought and paid for.” I won’t do that – I have pledged not to accept any corporate PAC money, and instead have built this campaign as a grassroots movement of regular folks.

We need to set up a public campaign finance model, and end the huge volumes of money that have poured into our elections since Citizens United. It’s untenable to let a small number of billionaires contribute more money to politics than every other person in America. That’s not the way democracy is supposed to work. Politicians end up spending a huge chunk of their time trying to raise enough money to stay in their seat – and not enough time on bills that affect their constituency.

We need to end gerrymandering. Politicians love to pick their constituents, and that’s not how democracy should be — people should get to pick the folks who represent them, not the other way around. We need to have a nonpartisan redistricting commission that comes out on a set interval and draws up fair districts. It should make geographic sense and it should not be some kind of strange line drawn to make sure Andy Barr gets to keep his seat, or to make sure that Nancy Pelosi gets to keep her seat. We should just have fair, impartial districting. That’s an important step to get us back to a representative democracy.

Last, I have taken a pledge that after I serve in Congress, I won’t become a lobbyist. Public service is about serving the public, not getting wealthy. All politicians should take this pledge, and I have called on Andy Barr to do so – but he hasn’t, because he’s a career politician. He was a Mitch McConnell guy, he was an Ernie Fletcher guy, and since he won this congressional seat and he has spent his entire time working for the richest industries in the country – so that he has a golden parachute so that when it’s time for him to leave. He’ll go work as a lobbyist making millions of dollars. I’m not running this race to become a wealthy lobbyist. I’m doing it so I can serve the people of the Sixth District.

We need people to be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but you can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don’t have boots. We need to develop a workforce where every Kentucky worker can get a good-paying job and doesn’t have to fear bankruptcy. And where all of us have the education and the opportunities that ensure that companies want to come and hire us – and pay us well.

We need to increase the minimum wage so that it matches previous minimum wages in terms of real dollars — it hasn’t even kept pace with inflation. We need to build in a regular increase in the minimum wage, matched to inflation or the consumer pricing index.

We need to strengthen labor unions and stop efforts to erode workers’ collective bargaining rights. There’s been a concerted attack on labor unions, both public and otherwise — the effort is insidious, it’s nationwide, and it’s endemic. We need to have more people in government who agree that it’s the workers who deserve the benefits of their labor and not just the person at the top. 

As jobs and businesses leave Main Street, we see tremendous pressures that threaten to destroy our rural culture. Whether it’s your rural hospital going away, or whether it’s your education opportunities getting worse, or whether it’s the family farm culture in Kentucky going away and being replaced with big corporate farming operations. We need real education and workforce development initiatives for our rural communities — not just a short-term tax break to try to lure a company to locate and then re-locate its business.
Agriculture is a cultural touchstone for so many of us within this district. We grew up working on farms, our families depended on income from our local family farms to supplement the living they made elsewhere, or to make a living on the land they owned. Unfortunately we are losing that culture.
As corporate farms, corporate processing plants, and a lack of markets all work against our family farms here in the Sixth District, we need to be promoting sustainable agriculture. We need to invite participation from our family farms and get Kentucky farmers back on a level playing field with the giant corporations that seek to price them out. Whether it is in tobacco, beef, dairy, or any other row crop, there is room for – and a demand for – locally grown, and processed, food to promote healthy communities here in Kentucky’s Sixth District.
Agriculture isn’t just for our culture. It can be a driving force for good in our local economies that have been devastated by the loss of manufacturing, as well. With proper implementation of community farming initiatives, community marketplaces, and local agricultural centers we can begin to embrace our local agricultural heritage at the family farm level and promote a sustainable economy that works for everyone. The healthy food would be a great benefit for Kentuckians in the Sixth District and beyond.

We must protect the unique outdoor nature of our Commonwealth. We have a lot of natural beauty here first and foremost, and we should be involved in protecting, nurturing and making sure that we are preserving that for our children and future generations. We have too much water we can’t drink, fish we can’t eat out of the water, and diseases in the animals we hunt. We have an opportunity here to have really one of the preeminent places to visit, to explore, to hike, to fish, to hunt. And our politicians, instead of caring about that, are instead just trying to figure out how to put as much money in a corporation’s pocket as possible. Protecting clean air and clean water are important so that we can eat the fish that we catch out of our rivers and lakes and hunt animals that have a healthy population, and enjoy the outdoors.

One of the number one environmental issues is right on the edge of this district over in Fleming County and that’s Maxey Flats, a federal Superfund site full of toxic waste. The state has taken on the burden of making sure it stays safe. Now it’s leaching into the groundwater and affecting a large rural area of this district, and we’ve got to have somebody in Congress fighting to change that.

We’ve also got the issue of toxic waste that was dumped in the Estill County landfill — and there’s some initiatives in Powell County and Estill County to bring in additional dumping. Now to me that is unacceptable, especially as we’re talking about one of the most naturally beautiful places in the district. We’ve got to make sure that we keep a close eye on what is happening, what is being brought in here, and not let some out of state corporation come in here, dump a bunch of waste, and then leave without any real recourse.

Climate change is real, and it’s a crisis — we can see it happening on our farms and in our fields. I was talking to a farmer at the Menifee County Farmers Market and he told me, “In all the 60 years I’ve been doing this, this was the first time I’d ever put out beans and they didn’t make. They didn’t produce no beans.” I think everybody is getting the sense that something is changing and something’s wrong.

We should pursue a comprehensive energy plan that includes clean and renewable energy sources, not just for the environmental benefit, but also for the economic benefit of the people of Kentucky — and I believe those environmental and economic benefits should be available to all of the people of Kentucky, not just the wealthy or well connected.

As a lifelong hunter and fisherman myself, I support the Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights, including:

  • Guaranteeing Kentuckians Access to Affordable Places to Hunt and Fish

    • Opposing Selling Off or Transferring Our Public Lands

  • Conserving and Enhancing Kentucky Habitat to Maintain Robust Fish and Wildlife Populations

    • Protecting Kentucky Deer and Elk Population Against the Threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

    • Restoring, Conserving and Enhancing Wildlife Habitat

    • Expanding Current Measures to Address the Asian Carp Invasion

    • Supporting Funding for Key Farm Bill Conservation Programs

    • Supporting Full Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund

    • Supporting Full Funding for the Farm Bill Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)

    • Restoring Degraded Areas to Improve Fishing Opportunities

    • Supporting Kentucky’s Efforts to Prevent Wildlife Collisions

    • Preparing Kentucky’s Fish and Wildlife Habitat for Climate Change

  • Guaranteeing All Americans Access to Guns for Hunting and Self-Defense

  • Expanding access to land for hunting and fishing (Pass Along Kentucky’s Sporting Traditions through Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation of Hunters)

    • Amending Federal Law to Support State Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation of Hunters

    • Increasing Sportsmen Access to Federal Lands

    • Increasing Sportsmen Access to Private Lands

We need to invest in long-term and realistic solutions to the opioid crisis. That means investing in social services projects and public education and counselors in schools, and making sure that we’re treating the epidemic like a public health crisis and not like an isolated criminal problem. We should be adequately funding police departments, adequately funding our public schools, adequately funding the treatment centers — not just to put an end to this crisis, but also so that we’re prepared for the next crisis.

Bad actors need to be held accountable, and that includes the pharmaceutical companies that pushed pills to pad their profits. We need to have legislation in place that holds them accountable, that doesn’t let them shelter their money, that doesn’t let them move things around and say, Oh, well we didn’t make any profit. We are going to hold them accountable and we’re going to bring that money back to Kentucky. We’re going to tell pharmaceutical manufacturers that this is the last time you guys get to do this. This is not the wild, wild West. You’re not going to poison our communities anymore and make profit off of it.

We need the right kind of treatment centers; not the kind where there’s a profit motive in shuffling people in and out of treatment centers. We need increased funding for fact-based, outcome-based rehabilitation techniques and putting them in practice here. That means care that actually decreases addiction over time, and that lowers recidivism rates.

Last, we need to make sure our secondary care providers have the support they need. This crisis affects all of us. Too many grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters are raising children in this state without the assistance they need.

We need to legalize medical marijuana across the United States of America. It has been shown to be a safe tool for pain management, and can have a tremendous impact for those who suffer.

Medical marijuana is already legal in 33 states. There’s no reason for Kentucky’s veterans, for Kentucky’s sick, for Kentucky’s elderly to suffer needlessly when the ground has already been broken elsewhere. We know it helps, we know people find relief, we know it brings down addiction rates — and there’s 33 legalization initiatives we can study and learn from to develop the right kind of policy for Kentucky.

Moreover, it’s an agricultural crop that would be well suited for Kentucky’s farms, both large and small.

There are too many folks out there who need relief from their pain for us to continue to delay. We need to take an important step in palliative care and legalize medical cannabis.

As a US Marine who completed two deployments, I have a real appreciation for the power of the United States around the world. Our word, our military, and our diplomacy must be used only with real thoughtfulness and strategy.

Congress is long overdue in redefining and/or updating the various authorizations of the use of military force that are currently in effect. We need to make it clear that we cannot engage in war under vague, broad mandates set decades ago. Congressional approval is required before engaging in war, as indicated in our Constitution. Congress’s role in authorizing military engagement should be brought to the forefront and made clear to the international community for the good of our allies, our troops, and our democracy. Too often it is the blood of the young, poor Americans on the front lines that is shed as a result of this ever-broadening definition of the AUMF by Presidential administrations.

When our troops come home, we need to take care of them. After young men and women put their lives on the line for our country, it is the least we can do to make sure they have high-quality healthcare — and that means looking after their physical AND mental health.

Veterans can have an extremely hard time reintegrating back into society, and we see higher rates of drug addiction, suicide, and homelessness among our veterans. PTSD can be a big part of that. After all they have done for us, our veterans deserve nothing less than the best care.

Our rural and underserved communities desperately need affordable, reliable internet. Now more than ever, everyone should have the same access to education and remote work, not just the wealthy. I come from a rural area without broadband – and in Congress I will work to bring this service to everyone.

On this campaign, I hear these stories – like the grandmother who had a college student come and move in with her out in a rural county to try to get on her feet and get her career started. A young woman who had a college degree and an opportunity to work for a company remotely, but got denied the job because her broadband access didn’t exist. She didn’t have a reliable connection.

Or the teacher in a rural part of our district who told me that a third of her children were being left behind during nontraditional instruction because they don’t have internet, and the best they can do is try to get on their dad’s cell phone when he gets home from work, to try to get their schoolwork done on a cell phone. That’s not an equal chance for these children, and it’s not okay.

I am in favor of lowering the tax burden on regular working folks, and I support tax cuts for the middle class.

I don’t think giving $1 trillion away to corporations is the right way to do tax reform. I understand that that may get Andy Barr a bunch of big fat corporate PAC checks, but what does it do for the folks here in the Kentucky Sixth — can they then get the services they need, or the healthcare they need, or the treatment in addiction for the opioid crisis that they need?

Those middle class tax cuts in the tax bill of 2017 represented a very small fraction of the total tax cuts, and they were made temporary. Those middle-class tax cuts sunset in just a few years. And so under the plan that Andy Barr voted for, there is an automatic tax increase on the middle class in just a handful of years. While those trillion dollar tax cuts for wealthy corporations are permanent. Those same corporations that move money around different countries to avoid paying their fair share. Those are the kinds of KPMG tax games that are costing our government billions and billions of dollars a year.

And so I believe that’s the exact wrong way to go about this. We should instead make permanent those tax cuts on middle-class folks that help them pay their bills and put money back in their community. But we should make temporary or do away with those tax cuts on wealthy corporations who are profiting enormously — and we should instead use those funds to do things like help folks out where they need it.

But most of all, I will work to represent YOU — by talking to you, listening to you, and working for you. If you have an issue or a perspective to share, please send us a note at