I am the son of a poor Puerto Rican immigrant. The 12th of 13 children, my mother had me at the age of 14. As a single mother, she raised me the best she could, having had to grow up and bear so much responsibility at a young age. I grew up on welfare and went to public and magnet schools.
Despite the many barriers, my mother received her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in Business Demographics and Geography. Due to blood transfusion overseas during a medical emergency, she caught Hepatitis C, but was not diagnosed until 6 years later. By this time, the damage had been done and was incurable. Having just a few short months to live, she committed suicide, choosing to spare me of the anguish of her decay. I was 18 at the time. Despite this, she taught me the value of an education and to believe in myself no matter what the odds. My fathers are a complicated story, but there are three men who made me who I am today. Foremost among them is Robert Faust, an actor and an activist. Jay Berger, a importer/exporter and entrepreneur. The final individual is Hashem Ashrafioun, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Villanova University. Each of these men helped shaped a unique perspective.
At the age of 23, I enlisted in the Army feeling the need to honor my mother’s last request. I had the honor of serving with the 1st Cavalry Division, Ft. Hood Texas. I was assigned to the Division Surgeon’s office and worked directly with the senior staff. I spent one year deployed in Bosnia at Tuzla-Main Air base and received multiple awards for my service.
After exiting the Army, I used the G.I. Bill to finance my education, where I completed the coursework required for a Bachelor’s in Mathematics at Arizona State University. In the years following I worked as an Actuarial Analyst and then a Operations Manager and a Fixed Income Analyst. In 2010, after the stock market crash and economic turmoil, I left my job and I was coming to Louisiana on my way to NYC, where I had an interview at a hedge fund. My first night on Bourbon Street was the night the Saints won the Superbowl. I was in love. I began working in the French Quarter in a seasonal capacity and was quickly hired full time and have worked in the hospitality industry for 7 years. I quickly fell in love with the friends I made and the heart of Louisiana and have chosen to make this my home, just as John Goodman has said. I was complete. I’m NOLA Till Ya Die.
I returned to school to pursue a Ph.D. in Financial Economics, but when David Duke said he was going to run against Steve Scalise and the results of Operation Trick or Treat rocked Bourbon, I made the choice to do the field work for a dissertation that is sorely needed.
How does the nature of campaign finance influence legislation and stifle natural economic growth?
The results of this study are nearly complete, but this election is an opportunity to expand it. I see so much opportunity being squandered in this state and want to do my part to improve our economy.
America is hurting and we need representatives of the people, by the people and for the people. Career politicians have had the opportunity to fix our country and failed us. Right now, more than ever, Louisiana needs fresh faces who understand the plight of the worker, but understands the economic realities of the business owner as well. I’ve worked for both my entire life, let me continue that purpose.