Party affiliation: Republican
Why are you a member of Tiger Bay? I’ve always enjoyed reading about politics, and the aspiration of the Club – to provide a forum for civil political discussions – seemed interesting. After years of Florida Bar involvement, and become an “empty nester” after our children graduated from UF, I had more time available for other interesting activities such as the Tiger Bay Club and the Downtown Rotary Club.
What is your first political memory? As a Miami 7th grader attending Palmetto Jr. High School, I took a course titled “The Electoral Process” from Ms. Hicks, a cool, motorcycle-riding teacher who, undoubtedly, had a left-leaning political philosophy. One of the course requirements was to participate in a political campaign in the Fall of 1972. While most of my classmates chose local campaigns, I decided to assist the campaign to Re-Elect Richard Nixon as President of the United States. I was a bit shy of my 12th birthday and thoroughly enjoyed the process – including canvassing for the president in various Miami precincts. I was also impressed that Ms. Hicks, who almost certainly supported George McGovern, didn’t hold my political beliefs against me and awarded me an “A” in the course.
Who inspires you? Both of my deceased fathers, who proudly served as U.S. Army officers after graduating from West Point, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and my wife, Kathy, who amazes me.
If you could have lunch with one current (living) political figure, who would it be? President Barak Obama, in an effort to make him understand that those of us with a different point of view have a passionate belief in our politics that is grounded in our own experiences and education – and that those different points of view don’t make us wrong.
How long have you lived in the Tampa Bay area? My family moved to Clearwater while I was in the middle of my junior year of high school. After finishing my junior year in Miami, I joined the rest of my family for my senior year at Dunedin High School in the Summer of 1977. My wife, Kathy, and I moved here permanently after we graduated from the University of Florida in the Summer of 1984.
What is the best thing about living in Tampa Bay? I love the feeling that, as South Tampa residents, we live in a “small town” with most of the amenities of a large city (but without the winter).
What are your hobbies? As a member of 3 book clubs and 2 Bible study groups, I’m an avid reader. I also love the beauty and solitude of nature – canoeing, kayaking and hiking are some of my favorite activities. I am an amateur photographer and many friends wouldn’t recognize me without a camera.
What is your family status (wife/kids/grandkids)? My wife, Kathy, and I have been happily married for more than 30 years, and we have two fabulous children – Amanda (Age 27) and David (Age 25).
What has shaped your political beliefs? I have a conservative political philosophy, and I trace my conservative roots to my upbringing. I was raised by two West Point graduates, and there is no doubt that their view of the world “rubbed off” on me. As a rule, most USMA graduates from the 1950’s had a deep and abiding love for God and our country, a strong sense of honor, self-reliance and sacrifice and, hence, a deeply conservative philosophy. I believe in the “rule of law” and believe that the law has (as it should have) a moral basis in natural law deriving from its Judeo-Christian background.
As a student of economics, I believe in our free enterprise system and believe that government’s role should generally be limited to providing a framework to foster (rather than inhibit) our economic development, public health and safety and education and to provide for a strong national defense. Otherwise, government should generally get out of the way of its citizens who are attempting to pursue their dreams. Thus, I have aligned myself with the Republican Party since my youth.
I do not, however, agree with many conservatives on some issues. For instance, as nature lover (which I attribute to my experiences as an Eagle Scout and my many travels), I consider myself to be a strong environmentalist. I do, however, believe in a reasonable balance between the environment and our economy. As a gun owner, I, nevertheless, believe in a reasonable degree of gun control.
While I can’t comprehend same-sex attraction, I have enough gay friends (including one who my brother and I considered to be an adoptive brother until his tragic death) to recognize that such attraction is as much a part of their DNA as my opposite-sex attraction is part of my DNA, so I have long believed in civil unions for gay couples.
Despite the fact that I have never “inhaled,” I believe we have expended far too much energy and funding unwisely in our unsuccessful efforts to address drug abuse, so I would, instead, legalize (and highly tax) marijuana usage.
While I am staunchly pro-life, it is not because of my political or religious background (as a devout Roman Catholic), but because I held my first child in my hand after she was miscarried during her first trimester, and I beheld a beautiful human being, who, like us, was deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.