From the moment I entered the world at Montgomery Regional Hospital, to the hot summer day I graduated from Blacksburg High School, I have lived in and loved my Southwest Virginia home.
My father, a longtime faculty member at Radford University, met my mother, a Fulbright Scholar, while they were both studying at Virginia Tech in the 1980’s. They have lived in Southwest Virginia ever since, raising my sister and me amongst the natural beauty, sense of community, and unmatched quality of life that our area offers.
I’ve been interested in US history and politics since I was a kid. As my friends and neighbors can tell you, I grew up reading the Roanoke Times, watching the nightly news, and drowning myself in books about Virginia and US history, the Civil War and WWII.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my interest in the history of the United States was driven by a deep appreciation of our nation’s unique role in the history of the world. From the salty resilience of the New England pilgrims, to the bloody Virginia battles of the Civil War, to the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, America has always had a prominent role in the course of human events.
After 13 years in Virginia’s public schools, I journeyed to Washington, DC to learn as much as I could and try to make an impact on the world. This opportunity gave me a front-row seat to all of Washington’s methods and madness. My career as a student and professional took me through the fields of academia, the US Senate, a banking regulatory agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a small public interest group, and finally the national advocacy association for America’s credit unions.
After high school, I graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Political Science from the George Washington University– in just under three years. In the following year, I received my Master’s Degree in Legislative Affairs, also from GWU.
While working in my university’s economics department, I assisted several professors and their research assistants on the production of economics conferences, white papers, and class curricula. This proximity to high-level economic research, writing, and data set off an insatiable desire to learn as much of this detailed, technical policy information as I could.
Before I was old enough to legally buy a drink, I was hired into a federal Executive Branch agency, called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I was the one of the youngest hires in the agency’s history.
In 2014, I was hired as a Regulatory Policy Analyst at the Credit Union National Association, also as its youngest employee. I was quickly promoted into CUNA’s Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy Department, all the while remaining the youngest person in the room.
Continuing my career in financial services, I went on to develop a deep expertise of the many processes and regulations in the world of economics and banking. I studied the legislative and regulatory process in great detail, and was able to work closely with attorneys, policy experts, and many current and former government officials.
My work and determination paid off, and in 2017, I presented an economics paper on the federal budget process at the First International Conference on Modern Monetary Theory at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, alongside PhD economists and seasoned attorneys.
But perhaps more importantly, these experiences in and around the US government gave me countless opportunities to meet and interact with Americans of all cultures, colors, and creeds. I learned crucial lessons from my front row seat to Washington’s action- and inaction. My proximity to the gears of government allowed me to learn firsthand how Washington really works, and how it doesn’t.
As I trudged through DC in those years, I gradually got to see how the sausage was made, and what people and organizations really held the levers of power in our nation’s capital.
As your US Representative in Congress, I’ll use all my knowledge and experience to be Southwest Virginia’s effective and unwavering voice in Washington.