I have been a proud Coloradan since age two when my parents heeded the words of Republican Horace Greeley to “Go West!” They left the skyscraping buildings of New York City for the sky piercing peaks of our Rocky Mountains.

My youth was filled with school, sports, church, friends and—most importantly—family. My parents saw crime rates in New York rising quickly, and with that, they sought a place where they could raise their growing family. Because of their selfless, hard-working attitudes, my siblings and I came from a comfortable, middle class home in Lakewood provided by two full-time working parents.

My father, the son of a first-generation American, grew up in Queens, New York. He became the first in his family to graduate from college and was drafted to the U.S. Army where he served honorably during the Vietnam War. He spent a career mastering computers and networks (before that was a thing) while living his life faithfully.

My beloved mother was one of nine children born to a farmer and his wife in the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania. She was expected to be a farmer’s wife, or perhaps even a secretary. Mom was never much for the expectation of others. She left the family farm after high school, got married, and found a way through grit, guts and brains to earn a bachelor’s, masters’ and law degree. All while being a wife, mother to three and a full time fighter for justice with the Office of Civil Rights.

Their efforts are now mine: to turn over to our children a Colorado with even greater opportunities to succeed, and higher expectations for service to others.

My parents are the source of my greatest life lessons. I owe to them my deep drive to work hard. Their goal was to build rock-solid conservative values into my life, including the central motivation to serve people with my time, talent and any resources I have. My parents’ Christian beliefs underscored the importance of family, community and serving those around us, and that’s why I serve.

Service, Sacrifice

My strong desire to serve and do what I could where I could started early. To help pay for college, I earned a U.S. Army ROTC Scholarship and took it to CU-Boulder where I began my education in the vaunted Aerospace Engineering program. It turns out that Aerospace Engineering is for folks a lot smarter than I am. Super smart folks even. I shifted gears and still within four years earned degrees in Economics and Political Science. I was recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate for my performance in ROTC before later graduating from CU Law School where I used to cut classes to learn how to conduct trials as an intern in the District Attorney’s Office in Jefferson County. It is there, more than twenty years ago, where I began my career as a prosecutor. During my time in JeffCo I worked with the best in the business, learned to define justice as more than victory in trial, and along the way, worked on some of the biggest criminal cases in Colorado.

In uniformed service to my country, among more than twenty years of assignments and challenges, I have been called upon to train our military prosecutors throughout the country and across the world. I have been mobilized twice since 9/11 and served as the Chief of Military Justice for Fort Carson, and ultimately, the US Division-North, 4th Infantry Division, Taskforce Ironhorse in Tikrit, Iraq.

Upon returning from Iraq I challenged the status quo and ran for District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties) when nobody thought it was “my turn.” Despite being outspent in the Primary and the General Election, I became the first District Attorney elected from outside of the DA’s office since before the US landed on the moon. I have served as DA for the most populous jurisdiction in CO since 2013. One of the most significant challenges for my community and for whom I serve took place in Aurora where we experienced one of the darkest moments in our recent history. Throughout that tragedy, in the face of an uncertain outcome, I chose to fight for justice for the families who were impacted by this heartbreak and for the community who determined not to be defined by it.

I have always sought to grow and innovate whatever office I’ve worked in. The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is no different. In the years I have proudly led this office we have increased transparency, demonstrated a commitment to fiscal responsibility, improved relationships with law enforcement and diligently pursued justice for our victims.

I continue to serve my state and my country in uniform. I am honored to have been promoted to the rank of Colonel in our Army National Guard. During my time in uniform I have served in numerous leadership positions, deployed to Iraq, and have been called upon to provide training to officers throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Opportunity, Leadership, Public Service

I am a husband to my lovely and overachieving wife, Marcia. Marcia has been an entrepreneur and successful local business owner in our community for more than seventeen years. Like other parents, our proudest achievements are our four ever-active children. Our kids go to public schools and each have attended a charter grade school where we live.

I have a vision for the Colorado that I love. I want to keep our state out of the rat race that leads to the mindless mainstream. I want Colorado to lead the country as a state where our kids want to stay and raise their families. I want Colorado’s economy to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in everyone, especially those who have historically felt shut out of our economic successes. I want small businesses and farmers and ranchers to grow and flourish. I want education to prepare and nourish future citizens and tomorrow’s leaders. I want the safety and security of our communities to be a chief priority. I recognize that our Plains and Western Slope continue to wait for the economic recovery that came to the Front Range long ago and that “success” for Colorado is more than Denver. I want success for Colorado to be defined as what takes place from border to border, not just in our great capital city.

This is not the direction we are currently heading and that is why I am asking for your vote. I’m not a millionaire and I’m not the heir to family political stature. I am a proud Coloradan who loves our state. As your elected governor, I will work with the diverse and dynamic communities of Colorado to cultivate opportunity, liberty, safety and justice for all.