Billionaires are getting richer and richer and poor people are getting poorer. In fact, the pinch isn’t just being felt by the poor, it’s being felt by all Americans and small businesses. As a small business owner myself, I have seen first hand how big business gets rich off of labor and banking regulations preferential to their goals. As a paramedic I’ve seen the suffering that no or poor healthcare can cause. There are so many things we can do to stop things from getting worse, but there is not much time to act. It is so very important for you to get involved now! Join me in making a difference today.

As a kid, I lived in some of the very poor and crime-ridden neighborhoods of South and West Phoenix, primarily with my mom who was only 16 when I was born. My mom and dad separated shortly after I was born. Life was difficult and I would stay with my grandparents when my mom was having trouble making ends meet. You can only imagine the things a teenage mom had to do in order to survive!

Because things were so difficult, when I was very young I was taken away by Child Protective Services to live at Casa de los Niños a few times and was even homeless sporadically, experiencing great difficulty in my early years which I have never forgotten. Growing up was challenging because I constantly had to worry about my surroundings and it was nearly impossible to carve out a future for myself. In my teenage years, I saw a lot of people falling into drugs, gangs, and alcohol. I knew I needed to choose a different path.

I met a wonderful girl in high school who later became my wife. We worked and went to college at the same time. I thought it would be a good idea to get my EMT certificate and worked at a company called Comtrans where I was able to service the homeless, those addicted to drugs and others who needed detox from alcohol or other substance abuse. I also was able to take battered women to domestic violence shelters and worked with behavioral health centers to help those with mental disabilities and disorders. It was an extremely rewarding job to have while going to college. I absolutely fell in love with being an EMT and took the next step by becoming an Paramedic.

Along the way, the girl I met in high school and I would have 3 beautiful children. Jenny has guided me along this life-long journey and for this, I am most grateful. Were it not for her counsel, I would truly be lost. Jenny’s father was an EMT and had been a primary inspiration for me becoming involved in emergency services work. But he had died when Jenny was just 6 years old.

Joe was tragically killed while attempting to help a motorist stuck in the snow. A driver of a semi truck en route to a grocery delivery, swerved past previously placed orange cones and slammed directly into him, crushing Joe between the mountain and the truck. This devastating scenario had a long-lasting impact on the community where she grew up and also on her life in general.

Jenny got all of her generosity genes from her father. She is always and constantly thinking about what she can do to help other people. She has donated her services to many causes, been there for so many people when they needed her the most, and definitely done the same for me. She encouraged me to do better for myself and become a Paramedic. Because I was inspired by her encouragement and her father’s story, I went to Paramedic school while finishing up my Bachelor’s degree in history.

As a Paramedic, I worked for Paramedics Unlimited as a standby medic for sporting events and PMT Ambulance, now a division of Rural Metro Corporation which serviced the entire Phoenix Metropolitan Area. At PMT, I helped the sick and injured by taking people in medical need to and from the hospital. I was able to help cardiac arrest victims and those who were in dire need of emergency medical services – those who were victims of car accidents, stabbings, shootings and just about any trauma you can think of. I was grateful for the experience and I still love stopping to help people in need whenever I might encounter them.

After working at PMT, I got a job working for Gila River EMS which is an ambulance agency on the Gila River Indian Reservation. Being part Native American, I felt a strong connection with the community and was grateful to be a part of history as one of the nation’s first Native American EMS agencies. We helped many people in the area who got sick or who were injured and we serviced community events as public servants. We also helped those who visited as we serviced Interstate 10, a busy corridor between Phoenix and Tucson. I was later promoted and became an EMS Battalion Chief/Supervisor and helped coordinate mass casualty incidents and disasters within the community.

I worked in this area, close to the border, at a time where border crossings were becoming immensely risky. I witnessed firsthand and helped many illegal immigrants who had been ejected from vehicles or nearly died crossing the insanely hot desert, fortunately to encounter our emergency medical services.

Their predicament gave me a genuine appreciation for the sacrifice they are willing to make – many with their lives – to become an American, to have the potential to live a great life. They would give up everything, just for the chance. This gave me an immense appreciation for both their situation and for my country.

While at Gila River EMS, I also helped to establish one of the first Emergency Medical Dispatch systems in Native American Country. Shortly thereafter, I finished up my Master’s Degree in military history.

I began working at a private, for-profit institution as a Paramedic Program Educational Director. But after seeing the poor results of the program and how I felt the corporation took advantage of its students and us (the staff) from a monetary standpoint, I quit and worked hard to create our own educational program, EMS University, which helped to put the large for-profit out of the EMT business by offering better quality education for a fraction of the price that the big school was charging. I had decided to enroll in law school (eventually finishing) at that point because it had been a live long goal of mine. I had always been interested/fascinated by the 1960s and the civil rights era. I thought maybe I would be able to help people and fight for their civil rights as a future attorney. I thought I could make a difference.

Several years ago, we opened up EMS University in San Diego. Shortly thereafter, we moved to North County San Diego because of a most extraordinarily difficult situation with my wife’s family. We moved to Oceanside, which we had visited for so many years and fit right in. North County is an area which our family very much loves.

This part of the country has so much to offer to our children, but opportunity has changed so much. With every passing year it becomes more and more difficult for people to change their lives through hard work. The societal boundaries are getting more difficult and in some places, impossible to climb. Prices for goods and services are rising astronomically while wages are stabilizing or decreasing when you factor in things like inflation and the high costs of housing. Our government no longer represents the people as a whole; it represents billionaires and oligarchs.

After the recent election, we no longer have a choice to sit on the sidelines. We all need to do something to get involved! Will you join me in the fight?