I was born and raised in Kansas, where I had a pretty typical childhood and learned traditional Midwestern values such as honesty, generosity, and responsibility.
I went to college and medical school at the University of Kansas, attending medical school on an Army scholarship. I then served nine years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps as a general surgery resident and staff general surgeon. During my time in the service, I greatly enjoyed taking care of active duty service members, veterans, and dependents from around the world. After my military service, I completed a second residency, in thoracic surgery, at the University of Oklahoma.
While I was in the last year of my general surgical residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, I met Julie, who was then a traveling nurse who grew up on a farm in Iowa. A boy from Kansas had to go all the way to Hawaii to meet a girl from Iowa! We were wed less than six months after our first date, and have been married for over 25 years. Who says “love at first sight” can’t last?
Since Hawaii, Julie and I have lived in Georgia (last Army post), Oklahoma (thoracic surgery), Indiana, and Colorado, before returning to the midwest and settling in Iowa in 2004. Along the way, we’ve been blessed with three sons, all born in different states. Cole was born in Georgia in 1997, Jake bas born in Oklahoma in 1999, and Caleb was born in Indiana in 2001. In 2018, were further blessed with the arrival of our first grandson, Jake’s son, Liam, born right here in Iowa!
I was a surgeon at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City until 2012, and also covered other nearby hospitals in Iowa. I now own and operate a surgical clinic in Coralville, Corridor Vein Center. Julie also works at my clinic, both as a nurse and as our office manger, and is also working as a nurse in an inpatient geriatric psychiatry unit at the University of Iowa.
I was never terribly interested in politics until 2007-2008, with the collapse of the subprime housing crisis arrival of the ensuing Great Recession. Before then, I was content to focus on my family and surgical career. After those events, however, I began to take politics more seriously, recognizing that the seeds of that economic collapse were sown by political decisions made decades earlier. And, truth be told, we have yet to correct the problems underlying those economic catastrophes, and that still has me very worried for the future my sons and grandsons will ultimately inherit.
I ran as a Libertarian candidate for the Iowa Senate in 2010, never expecting to win, and I didn’t. I then ran as a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016 and 2018. losing by a respectable margin in 2016, but getting killed in 2018. So, yeah, I’ve got all those loses going form me! Despite the electoral losses, however, I still feel like I made a difference, however slight. I think I established myself as someone who is an independent thinker, who is not beholden to partisan rhetoric, and who truly cares about the future of this great country.
On this site, I want to continue to push boundaries, to hopefully inspire others to think differently about political issues, and to seek realistic solutions for problems we do need to address. I believe that one of our most pressing problems is our intense political polarization; in which we do not merely disagree with one another, but actually think the “other side” is evil or stupid. The reality is that the “other side” is not going away, and we need to work together to find common ground and pursue common sense solutions for our political problems.
In addition to my work on this site, I’m also serving as the volunteer state coordinator for Better Angels in Iowa. Better Angels is a national, nonpartisan, and nonprofit organization which seeks to reduce political polarization and promote civil discourse. As I like to point out, we are supposed to be a self-governing society; but, how can we govern ourselves if we can’t even talk to one another? It has been wildly successful nationwide, and especially here in Iowa. If you’d like to learn more about our important work here in Iowa, please visit betterangelsiowa.org.