I grew up in a close-knit family in which my parents lived their values. As a child, I learned to appreciate the diversity and richness with which families and communities solve the universal challenges of daily life. Now I find that my early experience of understanding other people’s points of view is serving me well in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

I graduated from New York University with a degree in metropolitan studies and urban planning. My post-graduate work was on the Audubon Society’s national energy plan; this experience sharpened my interest in green jobs and green energy. Later I worked as vice president of commercial leasing for two New York City real estate firms. I was fascinated by the environmental, economic and social consequences of land use, redevelopment and zoning. I specialized in leasing space for United Nations embassies, trade organizations and nonprofits–-an experience that taught me how to achieve solutions for demanding clients with unique needs.

In 1994 my wife Elizabeth and I established Minnesota’s first paint-your-own-pottery business. Our seven-year experience as owners and managers of Doin’ the Dishes gave me a first-hand understanding of the challenges and rewards of running a small business. Liz and I sold our flourishing operation so we could share more family time when sons Jack and Eddy were born. The small business I’ve built in foreign currency trading enables me to work at home.

Liz and I volunteer at our sons’ school and help coach their soccer teams. It’s been a very special honor for me to host their class field trips to the Capitol.

Several years ago, my interest in history and experience in real estate led me to get involved in a unique historic preservation project on the Mississippi riverfront in St. Paul. Decades ago, the Farmers Union operated a gigantic complex that included 90 silos, a mill, and terminal facilities for loading grain onto barges. The sole remnants of this complex are the tall head house and adjacent sack house. My partners and I adapted the 1926 structure for modern uses while preserving its historic character.

Ironically, lessons learned in that challenging process now help me work across the aisle in the Minnesota House of Representatives. With an overall goal of growing Minnesota jobs, my Legislative work is focused on helping small businesses, strengthening education and health care, protecting the environment, developing transportation infrastructure, and building fairness into all governmental decisions.

I am deeply grateful for the values learned from my parents and tested by my life’s experiences. They have prepared me to serve the people of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, and Minnetonka who sent me to the Minnesota House of Representatives to work on their behalf. I appreciate their trust, and I will continue to work hard to be worthy of it.