"I am a born and bred Connecticut Yankee."
I was born in Bristol, raised in Burlington and spent summers in Stonington. Part of my mother’s family came to Connecticut before the Revolutionary War, settling in Stonington. The other part of her family came to Litchfield from Switzerland in the mid-19th century. My father’s parents came from central Europe in the early 1900's, settled in New Britain and had ten children. One grandfather was a baker in Plainville, and the other a locksmith in New Britain. Almost all my uncles and two of my aunts served in either WWII or the Korean War. My mother was a Head Start teacher for thirty-five years. My father played football for Central Connecticut and was an Assistant Attorney General for the state. My sisters are an elementary school librarian and nurse. Bottom line, I feel deeply rooted in the Nutmeg state.
My first job, at age eleven, was picking up the Mystic Community Center’s beach trash. The director, Roger Quesnel, had seen that I was pretty jealous of my older sisters who served as swimming instructor aids. He put a nail on a stick, gave me a bag and said I could spend an hour every morning picking up trash for $1. I eventually became a swim instructor and lifeguard at Williams Beach. Work was important in my family and growing up I had many jobs including years of delivering the Hartford Courant, working in the family bakery, being a pool attendant at the Marriott, a recreation coordinator at the Waterford Country School, and a busboy at the Farmington Country Club. Each of these jobs taught me values that I still carry with me today.
I went to college in Massachusetts on an Air Force ROTC scholarship and law school in Illinois. I then spent four years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force stationed in South Carolina but traveled all over the world. I did a tour in Saudi Arabia advising commanders and pilots while monitoring the Southern no-fly zone over Iraq. At the end of my four-year active duty tour, I knew I wanted to work and raise a family in southeast Connecticut. Returning home, I immediately joined the CT Air National Guard, and after 23 years continue to serve. While in the Guard here, I also deployed to Bosnia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom helping open up the civilian airspace following the Balkan War. While in Sarajevo during that tour, I met my wife, Harriet, and convinced her to move from Scotland and make Connecticut her home as well. I was recently activated to help with the pandemic response.
After my active duty tour in the Air Force, I spent seven years practicing law, with a focus on helping grow small to mid-sized businesses in and around District 18. I also taught business and military law at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. For the past thirteen years, I have overseen law students at Western New England University School of Law providing pro-bono legal services helping low-income entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups in Springfield, MA and northern Connecticut. All of this has given me a deep understanding of the challenges faced by this critical segment of our economy, and for making things more business friendly to grow Connecticut’s future.
Since returning to Connecticut, my wife and I have raised three kids, Tommy, Jane, and Cate. I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching their soccer and basketball teams. In 2015, I also helped organize and then served on the first-ever citizen-sponsored Charter Revision Commission in Stonington. That commission created term limits for both the Boards of Education and Finance and helped to democratize the town’s Board of Finance giving more citizens a voice on who sits on that key panel. In 2019, I was elected to the Stonington Board of Finance. I served on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Higher Edge, Inc., assisting low-income and first-generation high-school students who want to go to college.
I believe my ties to Connecticut, both personally and professionally, give me the experience and the passion to serve the citizens of this District and the state as a hardworking and committed State Senator.
Use of military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Air Force or the Department of Defense.