My great grandparents immigrated to the US in the early 1900’s, to work for the Santa Fe Railroad, and settled in Winslow, AZ. They left Mexico seeking a better way of life.
Today, I am a 3rd generation railroader, a certified Locomotive Engineer.
A proud Union member of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART). A Union, which represents thousands of employees.
An Air Force veteran who was stationed at Luke AFB, AZ.
My father who retired from the former Santa Fe Railroad, moved us between New Mexico to California, in order to provide for his family. The one thing that always concerned my parents was Education and the quality of schools when we moved. I attended 4 different schools and graduated from Gallup High School, New Mexico in 1982.
I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force because at the time, there were no high paying jobs and I knew the military would train me in a craft, provide housing and most importantly, health care.
I hired out with the railroad in 1994 and got involved with the United Transportation Union (UTU). I was elected into office as the Alternate Legislative Representative. My then Legislative Representative, Greg Hynes and now the National Alternate Legislative Director of SMART, introduced me to important Democrat elected leaders. I saw how important it was to contact them when it came to issues like railroader retirement, health care and much more. I attended conventions such as the AFL-CIO convention and would participate in the Day of Action at our State Capitol.
I saw how Unions continually fight to protect our jobs, health care and many issues that affect its members, especially in a state that is not union or labor friendly. What most employees do not realize that Unions still represent and protect a non-union member. I always believed as long as we worked hard, and loyal to the company, they would take care of us, which in fact is not true today for many.
Today, I represent the middle class, union backed working family. Our middle class is disappearing and continues to lose more and more. Jobs that used to support families and keep a mother or father at home are no longer the norm. In many households both parents have to work in order to make a living. We have seen the price of both parents working in our children. Our Legislature continues to give big corporations and businesses tax breaks, tax credit or any form of relief. Why does big business need protection when they already have billions of dollars, while many middle class struggle to make a living? The gap widens between the wealthiest and middle class and the middle class continues to lose.
I am very concerned about education. Today, Arizona is in the bottom when it comes to education, and our teachers need a raise. Our Legislature continues to undermine our schools by providing a voucher system or privatization of schools or completely no funding for our schools. This leads to why would businesses that offer great wages, provide benefits such as health care and retirement would want to move to Arizona if we do not have a strong education system.
With all these issues we are facing and they are very difficult issues, why do I feel I am the right person? I know how it is to work for minimum wage, at McDonald's. When things were looking up, my wife Sally was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Mounting medical bills put us back in the hole. Does that sound familiar?
That is why I want you to get involved and support me, our community and our state. It is time that we stop discriminating against all people regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
My covenant is to continually to fight for Working Families, Education and most importantly, People’s Rights. We need to protect public employees like police and firefighters. We need to protect unions and worker rights. We need to raise the minimum wage. We need tax cuts for middle income families. We need to bring better paying jobs back to our state. We need to take care of small businesses that provide much needed jobs. We need to strengthen our education system. We also need to stop legislation that hurts Arizona’s image and that our state cares about all people.
How much more can we afford to lose, have we not lost enough?