Past and Current Community Involvement
PhD, Public Administration and Policy, The University of Georgia
MPA, Arizona State University
BA, Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University
I come from a strong family legacy of public service. Not a political dynasty, not a family of wealthy donors with names on buildings, but from Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard Veterans, union stewards, CASA and elections volunteers, and people who see value in the ideals of community before self. As a professor in the public affairs, management, and policy fields for nearly the last decade, I’ve made it my imperative to educate current and future public servants to the best of my ability.
Now, I’m ready to step up.
I love Aurora and the neighborhoods of District 28—it is a microcosm of what the United States truly looks like. It’s a community of grit and passion, a community of diversity and openness, and a community that shows up when change is needed and when progress must be preserved.
As a professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs, I teach and research in the areas of public service ethics and leadership, public management, organizational behavior, and social entrepreneurship. For more on my background, you can read my professional bio here. In this role, I have often engaged with community stakeholders in consulting and advisory capacities on public policy and management matters, and I pride myself on my ability to confront policy issues through the use of data and evidence-based decision-making, and doing so in a collaborative spirit.
Before embarking on my academic career, I worked in applied policy analysis and government relations, including for the company where my parents spent most of their working lives—my father as an industrial painter, materials handler, and tool repairman, and my late mother as a general laborer and secretary. They were both union members with a high school education (and training in the Army National Guard for my dad), but they inspired me to put myself through school with scholarships and loans. That their only child went on to become a PhD educated college professor is nothing short of a miracle. Their hard work ethic instilled in me is the bedrock of everything I do.
More than anything, I believe it demonstrates the right combination of grit, work ethic, and the spirit of perseverance I have to succeed as your next State Senator.
When I’m not working, I enjoy traveling and spending time with friends and family. Other time permitting, I’m usually reading, running in Cherry Creek State Park, or cooking.
I reside in the Crown Point community in Southeast Aurora, where my two sons also attend Sagebrush Elementary School.
If you see me around, say hi! Let’s chat and show up together!
These are just a handful of the issues I consider to be most pressing for our district. While the Colorado General Assembly works on behalf of all Coloradans, I want to ensure that the district’s needs and interests are well represented. Should you have any questions on where I stand on an issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Elementary and Secondary Education
Pre-K-12 education must remain a top priority for our state. Teacher preparation, training, and pay, as well as student access to individualized education plans when needed, are many of the issues to which I’m attuned. I’ll work with all stakeholders involved, including the boards of Aurora Public Schools and the Cherry Creek School District to ensure our students’ and teachers’ needs are met.
I believe in providing access to health care to those who struggle to find or cannot afford to purchase insurance. Everyone who works should also have the right to paid sick days and the option to take paid leave for medical or parental reasons. The prices of some prescription drugs are out of control, and people should not have to ration these medications or risk death simply to survive. We still find ourselves in the midst of a serious opioid crisis, and I believe in increasing access to treatment. Access to better mental health care options must also be a priority.
If we take care of the land and our bodies of water, they will take care of us. I've seen firsthand the deleterious effects of pollution and climate change and I support government action to curtail the harm done and to work toward sensible opportunities for clean energy production that benefit our environment, and when possible, our economy.
We have seen the devastating losses and harmful societal impact from mass shootings and gun violence time and time again. I was raised in a family of hunters, but I am decidedly firm in my stance on responsible gun safety and ownership. I believe background checks are absolutely necessary, that assault rifles do not belong in the hands of ordinary civilians, and I would support the ERPO "red flag" bill currently moving through the Colorado General Assembly.
We all love Colorado and the quality of life afforded here, but we’re no strangers to the day-to-day difficulties some folks have in meeting their housing needs. As the Denver Metro area continues to grow, Aurora is feeling the pinch, too. As a homeowner in Aurora, I’m incredibly lucky to have my housing needs met, but I also believe in protections and programs for tenants at risk of eviction and homeowners at risk of foreclosure. We should all have the right to housing security, even when unforeseen challenges are hurled our way.
Everyone needs to get from their A to B daily, and they deserve to do so safely and quickly. We need major reinvestments in our roads and crumbling infrastructure, and there is also much room for improvement in public transit options. I would look forward to working with other lawmakers, CDOT, and RTD in improving infrastructure and options.
Higher Education and Vocational Training
As a professor, I believe our homegrown students should have primary access to our state colleges and universities. Colorado is fortunate to have so many institutions that provide a wide range of educational possibilities, including technical and trade schools, as well as an array of community college options that can be better leveraged. We must also tackle the student debt crisis as it is a serious threat to this and future generations’ well being.
Civil Rights and Criminal Justice
Colorado has the ability to be a leader in social equity, inclusion, and diversity. We are a state where all people should be able to thrive regardless of their identities and beliefs; but when that ability is threatened, we as a community must push for greater acceptance. We must also reform punitive measures in our criminal justice system. We must invest more in rehabilitation and re-entry programs, steer away from punitive measures that create further inequity, and focus on more serious criminal activity.
Senate District 28
District 28 encompasses southern Aurora and small portions of unincorporated Arapahoe County, from the Utah Park neighborhood in the west, stretching east toward and including Southlands and Aurora Reservoir. House Districts 36, 40, and 41 overlap the district, as do small portions of House District 42 to the northwest, and House District 56 to the southeast. Portions of Arapahoe County Commissioner Districts 2, 3, and 4 also overlap SD 28. The district is served by both Aurora Public Schools and the Cherry Creek School District, with Overland, Gateway, Rangeview, and Smoky Hill High Schools all in SD 28. Aurora Municipal Wards II, IV, V, and VI all overlap into SD 28 as well. The vast majority of the district lies within Congressional District 6, with a very small portion in Congressional District 4.
District 28 is also home to landmarks such as Quincy Reservoir, the Plains Conservation Center, and the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds.
This is a community effort, and I want to engage as many people as possible—this is your seat! Here you can sign up for updates, volunteer to help with the campaign, or make a contribution to keep John going strong. Get involved today!
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