Some of the earliest memories I have around current events occurred in the mid-1990s. I don’t know if that was an especially tumultuous time, or if it’s simply when I started paying attention, but I have distinct recollections of newscasts on the television about the Oklahoma City Bombing, OJ Simpson trial, Princess Diana’s death, and Amber Hagerman’s abduction. Amber’s unsolved murder was especially jarring given that it occurred not far from where I grew up in Arlington, TX.
Through those experiences, I realized at a young age that stories connected communities. Information was necessary to becoming a more engaged citizen and a better neighbor as we looked out for one another’s shared interests. That’s primarily why I became a journalist in the first place—I wanted to be a conduit to that community connection.
After earning a journalism degree at the University of Texas at Arlington—a world-class university situated between two Red and Blue counties in Fort Worth and Dallas—I entered the workforce following one of the worst economic recessions in the United States since the Great Depression. Journalism experienced an especially severe downturn due to digital disruption on the internet, which opened a floodgate of information that has simultaneously made us the most connected yet isolated generation in the history of the world.
In the pre-digital world, we could build our communities and associate with likeminded individuals who for the most part shared our ideas for what the pursuit of the good life should entail. Today, with the explosion of social media, we are increasingly exposed to differing world views. This exposure has contributed to increased polarization as our fellow Americans look more and more alien to us.
In this post-digital world, it’s more important than ever that we elect leaders who use this wealth of information to bridge our commonalities rather than drive a wedge between our differences. It’s led to political dysfunction that is borne out of false choice—us or them. As a journalist, I understand what it takes to responsibly engage with and understand dissenting voices. My entry into the race as an Independent for the 24th district of Texas is a continuation of my desire to serve my community, prioritizing connectedness, impartiality, and a relentless pursuit of understanding.
We have an opportunity to enter this new decade with clear, focused determination to unite and work toward a common good. I think that effort is worthwhile and I believe that’s a story worth writing together. If you think so, too, join me in developing pragmatic and fact-based solutions for the economic prosperity of all Americans. Subscribe to my email, share this letter, and donate today. Thank you!