I was born at Redbud Hospital in a small town called Clearlake, California.
We lived on a hill on the outskirts of Clearlake Oaks where my father was a volunteer firefighter. My sister Karen is two years older than me and she was my best friend. I remember spending most of my evenings in my wooden playpen attached to our pier where we fished what seemed like nightly. It must have been where I gained my love for fishing. There is nothing better than having a fishing pole in my hand sitting under the moon with the stars overhead.
My parents later moved to a small town of 900 called Nice, where they rented a mobile home and both were volunteer firefighters. I would spend afternoons with my sister and friends playing in the culverts around the city catching snakes and lizards. My parents were very active in the fire department and this is where I also spent a lot of time growing up. My mom didn’t like some of the things that were going on in the fire department, which affected the firefighters, so she did what she always taught us. If you don’t like something, don’t just complain about it. Figure out how to make it better and be the change, be the difference. She ran for the Nice Community Services District, the first female to register to run and the youngest. She went door to door throughout our entire town. She won with the most votes.
My parents separated when I was six years old. It was a very difficult time for me as a young child. My father disappeared for several years leaving my single mom to work three jobs in order to provide for my sister and I. Some days consisted of waking up in the morning to find my mother had already left for work, riding my bike to school, then coming home where we would hang outside exploring our city. After long days of playing outside we would sometimes find ourselves in bed before my mom would make it home from her day at work.
Both of my mom’s parents met as corpsman in the Navy at Oaknoll Naval hospital. My uncle JohnMichael owned the house next door to us, he was a large influence on me growing up. He is a Navy veteran who served on a ship in the gulf war. He now runs my grandfather’s Drug testing business, Schlim, McCabe and Associates. My grandfather was a police officer and his specialty was narcotics. He traveled the states giving seminars to law enforcement officers on how to identify suspects that were abusing substances and which substance they were on. My other uncle, David was in the Air Force and was stationed in Germany.
My father came back into my life around this time. My sister and I began visiting him every other weekend. This schedule kind of went on for a while, until he moved to Reno, Nevada.
Discovery Bay was a small town in the middle of an agricultural area, surrounded by farms. My freshman year of high school was very exciting. I played football as a center on offence and a left tackle on defense. That year we went 9-1 and beat De La Salle 21-0, they were the best High School around. My sophomore year was quite a big change for me. I decided I wanted to get to know my father better and moved in with him in Reno Nevada where I stayed for a year. Playing football in Reno was so much fun! Being from a top tier division I was on a different level than the opponents we faced. I played nose tackle and it would take three of their players to hold me back, I even got dozens of sacks that season. While I was living with my father in Reno my mother had met the love of her life, I chose to move back home when they got married. He had three young children, Daniel, Carter and Bracy. Both of my brothers are now Army veterans.
Once I was back home in Discovery Bay I had to adjust to being in a house with a large family. I found myself being the mediator, and I was good at it! I did what I could to keep the peace and make sure everyone was happy. It’s not easy being in a mixed family but I think we all adjusted well. That summer while camping I had a terrible accident. The water was murky, and I dove in during low tide. I hit my head and was underwater for several minutes. I was suffering from what they call a football stinger, which temporarily paralyzes you. I was floating face down in the water and couldn’t move. I knew when I couldn’t hold my breath any longer, I would drown. An eight-year-old boy stepped on my lifeless body, not knowing what it was. He reached down and pulled me up from the bottom of the delta. I was blue and not breathing. Fortunately, my cousin sitting on the beach knew CPR. He resuscitated me and saved my life. Love you Josh. I was very fortunate. I sprang several vertebrae, ripped every muscle in my neck, and had an advanced concussion. I was lucky I didn’t break my neck and to be alive. This however, put an end to my football career. I was unable to turn my head to either side for over a year.
I found comfort in video games during and after this time. It was something I could do with my friends and I didn’t have to worry about hurting my neck. After High School I played a game called World of Warcraft, in which I was leveling up characters and selling them to make money. One of the guys that bought a character from me made me an offer, he said he could get me a job if I flew to Louisiana to take it. After a lengthy discussion with my mom and my stepfather, I bought an airplane ticket then headed out on my own to Louisiana!
I worked in the oilfield as an instrumentation technician. Within a few days I was hired on and was ready to begin my adult life and the adventures it would bring. As an instrumentation technician it was my job to go to oil rigs and install, fix, and uninstall safety equipment. I was very good at my job. I specialized in our EMS3 system and worked mostly with gas detection units. It was a very exciting time in my life as I got to go to hundreds of oil rigs. I would either be flown to offshore rigs, take long ocean boat rides, or small bayou boats to barge rigs. Sometimes I would drive across multiple states to work on land rigs as well. I got so good that if a rig stopped detecting gas from the flow I would immediately be flown out in a helicopter and have their problem fixed within hours. After about two years I decided I was done working 120 hours a week with twelve days on and three days off while still on call twenty-four hours a day. I spent many nights sleeping in my truck, too exhausted to drive any further.
My sister’s now ex-husband had just joined the Army and was leaving for his basic training. She knew she was going to be leaving to wherever he would be stationed and wanted to spend some time with me before she had to leave. My sister and I had always been very close. So, I decided to go stay with her for a few weeks in Reno where she was living with her husband. After AIT (Advanced Individual Training) he was stationed in Anchorage Alaska, and she soon after would be following him. I was having such a good time in Reno that I decided to stay. So, I got a job at the Peppermill Casino Resort and Spa as a security officer. This was one of my favorite jobs! I got to help so many good people and even arrest some bad ones! I quickly moved up the ranks to bike officer, then into security dispatch where I monitored surveillance cameras and directed officers to where they were needed.
One of my good friends I met while working at the Peppermill was married to a Filipina woman who introduced me to her friend, Femin. It didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels for Fem. Now I truly knew what love was. We dated for about ten months before we decided we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with each other. Shortly after we married, we got a place together in Reno where I began my career in cable. A year later we were blessed with our beautiful daughter Kaitlynn, and my life had new meaning. I worked as a cable contractor for a few years and excelled at it. I had found my dream career. I was both a great and terrible cable guy… I could show up to a house and fix their problem very quickly, but I’m a talker! I would spend a long time chatting with my customers, listening to their stories, hearing their concerns, their hopes, their dreams. I was welcomed into thousands of people's homes and I heard their problems.
At the time I never thought I would be in a position where I could help alleviate those problems, where I could make a difference and solve those problems, but here I am. As a contractor I was able to work in several different cable systems. I helped open a new shop in Anaheim California as their quality control inspector. After two months there I went back home and was immediately asked to go to Casper Wyoming and help straighten out their shop. I spent two months helping to bring their system up to code. I also installed in the Bay Area of California, before moving to Arkansas in 2014, where I continued my career for Cox. I was fortunate enough to meet so many wonderful people here in Arkansas.
When we first moved to Pea Ridge, Arkansas, we lived with my sister Karen, her now ex-husband and two daughters. My wife was pregnant and we had recently lost one of our twins. We stayed with them for a few months until we could adjust and I could find a job and a place of our own to rent. We found the perfect place for us in Bella Vista and it wasn’t too far from where I was working or my sister’s family. Not long afterwards we were blessed with another beautiful baby girl, Kristy, she was born and passed just five hours later.
Arkansas has the kindest people I’ve ever met from all of my travels. Unfortunately, being a cable guy here wasn’t the same as the other places I’ve lived. It doesn’t pay the same. I took an eighty % pay cut moving here from California to do the same type of work. I had to move on to a career that would better take care of my family. I could no longer justify working sixty hours or more for such a small amount of money that I couldn’t afford all my bills without working additional hours delivering pizzas to survive. My wife started working at JB Hunt as their sales tax accountant. I started going back to school to work on a computer science degree while working at Dominos delivering pizzas. I had been at Dominos for about five years until I took leave for my campaign in 2020.
My wife Fem has been the foundation upon which we were able to get where we are today. She has always been such a hard worker and extremely supportive of me. Without her support I would not have had the opportunity to pursue my degree and further my education.
I was able to get a job as an Engineering Intern at JB Hunt about three and a half years ago in which I work and specialize in automation. I work at JB Hunt during the week while going to school. I finished my Associates of Applied Science Magna Cum Laude last semester and will be transferring to University of Arkansas next semester with a 3.5 GPA as an honors student on the Dean’s list. My wife and I have worked very hard and were able to save up enough to buy our first house two years ago in Bella Vista. We have been so blessed and have worked hard to get where we are today. I have taken a leave of absence from Dominos, so I have time to campaign and spend time getting to know the wonderful residents of Arkansas.
Through my campaign my wife and daughter have been very supportive. They come to meetings with constituents and even on trips to campaign events! It isn't easy for the family of a candidate and I really appreciate all they have gone through to help make sure Arkansans have true representation.
That is the gist of who I am and where I came from. I am just a regular guy. I'm a hardworking husband and father and want to make sure that our children grow up in a democratic country, a country in which we can all pursue the American dream. We’ve been on Medicaid when we couldn’t afford medical and didn’t make much money. We used SNAP when we needed help and made little enough to qualify. When my wife was pregnant, we used WIC to help with vegetables and dairy. When an employer wasn’t paying me for the hours I worked, I relied on Unemployment to help pay bills until I landed a new job. We are just a regular working-class family that has been through it all, just like you. These are the reasons why I want to represent you, because I know what you’re going through, I know your struggles, and I feel your pain. We don’t need wealthy people that were fed from silver spoons and given free rides to ivy league schools representing us, because they just don’t know what it’s like to be a regular American. I am offering you true representation, a voice in the legislative process. I promise you; I will make your voice heard, I won’t let the system continue to put us behind the interests of the people that bribe our legislators, I will make your voices ROAR!