Who Am I ?


I am the son of immigrants from Poland and Austria.  My father came through Ellis Island in 1911 at the age of two. My dad  was a commercial window washer in New  York City in the 1930's and 40's. While my mom stayed home to raise the  children. My father never went beyond the 8th grade but was self  educated and had a deep understanding of business, economics and  politics. He would often perform long Shakespearian soliloquies off the  top of his head. New to this country and with an innate curiosity my  father was drawn to Harlem of the era where he had many friends and  business associates in the African American community. This lead to my  father's joining the early civil rights struggle to let African  Americans to join the New York Window Washers Union in the 1940's. Years  later after he died I found a program from the Annual Union dinner in  the 1950's but my dad's name was not in the program. I then found out he  had kept that particular program because it was the introduction of the  first African American Union officer

After two near death  falls off skyscrapers my Mother insisted my father relocate to Upstate  NY where the buildings were lower. First to Worcester NY (pop. 2099),  which was a real culture shock after living in Brooklyn all of their  lives.  My mom took the chickens in and had them stay in the basement  when it got too cold. There were often bear seen on the mountain and  there was movie night at the library on Saturday nights. After a time my  family settled in Schenectady NY.

My father instilled a  strong work ethic in me by having me go with him on weekend floor  maintenance jobs, where I learned to run the waxing machine and was  given 15 cents per job. I remember working with him in the summers  washing the windows at our local J.C. Penny's, I was thrilled to be  earning 2 dollars a day.  But my family also gave me a lifelong interest  in current events. Political discussion over the dinner table was the  norm and it was lively as my father, being a small business owner, was a  Goldwater Republican and my Mom an old time New Deal Democrat. Because  of them, I remember the fear during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the  heartbreak when President Kennedy was assassinated and I deeply remember  that terrible summer of 1968 when Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther  King were assassinated.

In 1972 at the age of 13 I got  involved in politics by marching in the inaugural Earth Day Parade and  handing out buttons and bumper stickers for President Richard Nixon.   After Nixon's reelection I received a lovely card from the White House  thanking me, which I kept many years after he was impeached.

As I was a High School Senior I was the editor of the school newspaper  during a teacher's strike. By self funding the school newspaper  continued to be published and the local news media would come to us  student journalists for the latest news on the strike at our school and  at several other local schools that were also on strike. At the end of  the year I was awarded the Colombia University Scholastic Journalist of  the Year for my school.

My college years were spent  following punk rock bands like the Ramones and the Clash and by mountain  climbing and repelling the high peaks of the Adirondacks. More  importantly, I studied under college professors that were local elected  officials in NY, a CIA agent who was on leave and a former Clerk for  Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Out of college I  worked for the NYS Department of State. As a union leader at State I had  one of my proudest moments standing in front of the White House with  PATCO, the air traffic controllers union, in a near riot protesting the  busting of their union by the Reagan administration.

Later, I  joined the early Information Technology Industry. My employer had been a  professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the business was  located in Rensselaer Polytechnics Institute's Business Incubator  Center, What I learned about technology and business there was better  than any MBA. I was at a local epicenter of innovation and  entrepreneurship. At 26, I owned the company and changed the name to  Advanced Idea Mechanics Inc. which I  "borrowed" from a group of comic  book super villains. After 8 years building custom computers and  performing electronic design work for Fortune 500 companies, AIM Inc.  was sold to a larger better financed company. Over the next ten years I  worked in post secondary education both in teaching and in  Administration.

Vision problems caused me to need four eye  operations. Rather than accept disability while I healed I took what  work I could find. I had worked in a retail tobacco store, a record  store (back in the vinyl records days) and in a department store during  college and during this span I worked in a warehouse and worked with the  mentally and physically disabled as a Community Living Counselor. In  2007 I could not find work and a friend from NY who had moved to  Tennessee told me to come down. I came with my belongings in a Lincoln  and $300 in my pocket. My first job in Tennessee was at Sears in the  East Town Mall. Then had the opportunity to work in computer operations  at the Financial Aid Office at Pellissippi Community College, where I  became the United Campus Workers Co chair. While in that position I  revealed documents showing Administration's movement to out sourcing of  college and university jobs.

I had started my college career  in New York but as it sometimes does circumstances changed and so I had  not finished. Once in Tennessee I decided it was time to finish what I  had started. I went back to school and in 2011; I received my Bachelors  of Science degree. In 2014,   I received my Masters of Public  Administration, with a concentration in Public Finance Management. from   East Tennessee State University. During this time I interned with the  University of Tennessee's Institute for Public Service and volunteered  at Second Harvest food bank.

I have 2 grown children who still  live in Schenectady. My son works for the State of New York and my  daughter is a graduate or Cortland State. I met my current wife in 2007  and we married in 2009. We are the proud parents of a 3 cats named  Missy, Morty and Maggie. I enjoy NFL Football and I am a fantasy  football league commissioner. I like to work on older Swedish cars when I  have time. And I'll need a job after the election if I don't win.

  So I guess the answer to the question who am I is this. I am a ex New  Yorker with humble beginnings, I have been a technology business owner  and I have been a minimum wage worker. I know hard work for little pay.   I have been a teacher, but I have also been taught by some of the best  in the country. I'm not afraid of hard work no matter the job, I have  been involved in politics for most of my life,  I am a father, a husband  and I would like to be your State Senator in the fifth Distinct of  Tennessee. 

Thank you