Who am I?
I am a 36 year-old husband, father, son and brother from Wilmington, NC. My wife, Tiffany (a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corp.), and I live in Holly Ridge, NC where we have four wonderful children. I am a 36 year-old combat veteran who served 7 years in the NC Army National Guard and last served in Iraq from December of 2008 to January of 2010, where I received a Purple Heart Medal for injuries sustained in August of 2009 from an IED blast to my vehicle while on an emergency recovery mission with my convoy security team. I have a BS in Business Finance from UNC Wilmington and it was at UNC Wilmington that I started a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans. With a different perspective on life through service, I learned of the many issues plaguing my fellow student Veterans, service-members and their families alike. This compelled me to start a non-profit organization, The Student Veterans Advocacy Group (SVAG) in order to assist by addressing the many issues facing my fellow veterans locally, statewide and on to advocate nationally.
Why am I running?
I am running because our community deserves a Representative who echoes the voice of the people. It’s just time for a changing of the guard and I’m dedicated to serving the interests of the people. My time in service taught me that my true passion is in public service, not self-service. My experience overseas has deepened my love for our Country and the people fortunate enough to call themselves Americans. Upon returning from deployment, my advocacy efforts on behalf of Veterans really uncovered the many problems facing Americans and the lack of effort by their representatives to resolve and confront these issues. I felt the triage necessary to repair these problems must be performed from the inside out not the outside in. I am running for US House to show the people of NC3 what true and equal representation can do for their futures because they deserve it, we all do.
By focusing on the economy, education, individual rights and the environment with innovative solutions, equal representation, and unity amongst the people – we will see a greater society together. But such opportunity cannot be achieved through hate, division and inequality. My top three policy goals are the economy, education, and individual rights. By addressing a plan for building our infrastructure in fixing our roads, schools, and bridges we can increase jobs in areas that need our investment. Additionally, I would work to get minimum wage increased to $9.00 per hour. Education for our children is the fundamental underpinning of their futures. By focussing on public education, rather than diverting such resources for charter schools, we will surely be a step closer to where we need to be. We must fix the problems as opposed to crippling the solutions. I will fight for the individual rights of every American. When serving in combat, we fought side-by-side regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual preference, or social standing because we needed each other to get home. I’ll restore the problem solving leadership I practiced on the battlefield back to Congress. I believe putting People before Party and Politics is the right formula for success.
My DFA Values
It is an unfortunate fact that in the political climate of today, the meaningless promises made by politicians means more to some than the needs of their neighbors. A shared sense of commitment and unity is what makes a strong community, with neighbors looking out for neighbors. I firmly believe most people desire this sense of belonging, knowing that their thoughts, feelings and concerns matter. We don't learn by talking to our neighbors and community, we learn by listening. This is the course necessary to achieve a brighter future, provide our children with a quality education in a safe environment, and ensure that those who worked so hard yesterday to provide us with opportunity today recieve the care and respect they earned and deserve tomorrow. Neighbors representing neighbors equals a brighter tomorrow for every American.
Every part of our Nation and World is integral to our well being as Humans. We must form partnerships domesticaly and abroad to ensure our future generations a world free of threat, and full of opportunity and beauty. We must be pragmatic enough to recognize that economics has and always will remain an influence on land use decisions. By using the wealth of knowledge and innovative solutions of our Nation's citizens we can create viable sources of renewable energy domestically, economic stability all while preserving the integrity and beauty of our fragile ecosystems.
I served with individuals of many diverse ethniticity, color, gender, sexual orientation and religion. The right to pursue happiness as an individual should be free of discrimination or harassment. These are the very principles that together we were fighting for. In order to achieve unity and strength in community we must enact policies that ensure that ALL AMERICANS can live free of prejudice, hate and bigotry. I want my children to grow up understanding that we are all different but it is these differences that combined are the greatness that defines the United States of America.
My Campaign is People Powered!
Our campaign efforts have predominantly been grassroots, as I believe being out there in the district with the people is the only way to represent them. We utilized two methods which have been advantageous but simple. First, is talking and communicating with community leaders, party leaders, and organizational leaders within the district and State by discussing our campaign goals and vision. After that we began to see support from those leaders and followed up by attending meetings and speaking at events to engage the people in the District. The second example of our progressive outreach has been through a social media campaign on the major social media outlets. Regularly posting and sharing my personal positions on important political issues, while allowing the public to openly comment without prior approval has empowered people to feel a sense of ownership in the campaign. I just believe that standing up for the right things for people, good things will happen. Doing so has enabled our campaign to get a significant local and national media presence I don't believe would have otherwise happened. From here, we've hired a finance director who'll be leading our fundraising endeavors in a much larger local and regional way. Soon to follow, we're working on finding office space in the Jacksonville and New Bern areas as well as billboards and road signs. We've also just started distributing "Thigpen for US House" bumper stickers, which we expect will also further assist in branding.