I’m a 28-year-old husband, father, and university instructor running for Congress as a Democrat in Florida’s 6th district. I was born and raised in the Daytona Beach area, and started my own family right here in the 6th district.
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Born in Daytona Beach
August 17th, 1991
My mother immigrated from China after the Tiananmen Square massacre and worked at an assisted living facility. My father, originally from the Pittsburgh area, cleaned carpets and restaurant kitchen exhaust systems for local businesses.
Begun playing piano
I fell in love with the instrument, and continue to play to this day. My favorite piece to perform is Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, 3rd movement.
Worked at the Holly Hill Public Library
I volunteered in 2006 and was a paid student worker from late 2006 to 2008 at the Holly Hill Public Library (now closed, sadly), where I shelved and organized books; helped organize children’s summer events; helped patrons with library cards, finding and borrowing items, and finding information online; and taught a computer class to senior citizens.
Graduated from Gold Medal Honors Academy
I was educated at home by my father, who was supervised by a private school in DeLand called Gold Medal Honors Academy. I graduated in 2007 at the age of 15 and began my studies at Daytona Beach Community College that fall in the QUANTA interdisciplinary learning community.
Graduated from Daytona State College
I completed my associate degree at Daytona State College in May 2011. During my time at Daytona State, I was a Biology and Mathematics tutor as well as the Features Editor for Daytona State in Motion, the student newspaper. I was awarded the merit-based Florida Academic Scholars Bright Futures scholarship and the James Fentress Scholarship.
Graduated from University of Central Florida
I studied psychology at University of Central Florida’s Daytona Beach campus, completing my bachelor’s degree in May 2014.
Became President of Port Orange Toastmasters
I started attending Port Orange Toastmasters in 2014 to improve my public speaking skills. I went on to give over 30 speeches and become the club’s president from July 2015 to June 2016, and then treasurer from July 2016 to June 2017. During my time as president I worked to build our club’s membership and members’ professional development, as well as strengthening our relationship with our host, Palmer College of Chiropractic. We achieved President’s Distinguished Club status from Toastmasters International during my tenure. I left in 2017 to focus on my doctoral studies.
Earned a Master's in Applied Learning & Instruction
I completed my M.A. in Applied Learning & Instruction at UCF in May 2016, as a commuting student to the Orlando campus. This program focuses on the fusion of psychology and education in practical settings. I developed a course, Introduction to American Personal Financial Literacy, as my capstone project, and became a big fan of Senator Elizabeth Warren in the process.
Began teaching EME 2040
Under my supervisor and mentor, Dr. Richard Hartshorne, I progressed from being his Graduate Teaching Assistant to teaching my own course, EME 2040: Introduction to Technology for Educators, to about 300 students from 2017 to 2019. I became an adjunct faculty member in Spring 2020.
Started my own family in Orange City
In 2017, I met my beautiful and supportive wife, Kristy. On February 27, 2019, we welcomed our first child, Ricky, into the world at AdventHealth hospital in DeLand. He is our pride and joy and we want a bright future for him!
Completed My Doctorate
For my dissertation, I studied the Florida Retirement System and the financial knowledge of future teachers. In addition to teaching educational technology, I graded graduate-level assignments, co-edited a book on online learning published by IGI Global, and worked on the instructional design of a graduate-level research course as well as facilities maintenance guides for the National Park Service. My passion for financial literacy and Americans’ economic wellbeing stuck with me, and combined with my studies of behavioral economics, I came to realize that Congress and our Government have a big role to play.
Announced my candidacy for District Six
On January 2, 2020, I announced my run for Congress as a Democrat for Florida’s 6th congressional district. From January until mid-March 2020, I attended over 30 meetings and events meeting hundreds of voters throughout the district, including the African American Heritage Celebration in Eustis, the DeLand Dog Parade, and Daytona State College’s Welcome Back event. Since COVID-19 emerged, I have continued my campaign online on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube live-streams, and mass emails, while raising awareness of important issues — such as unemployment benefits.
Why I'm running for Congress
We face a litany of issues in Central Florida — widespread poverty, low-wage jobs, and a tenuous tourism economy — and we’ve been left behind by Republican leadership. I’m going to Washington to fight for my community, my town — and you, my friend. This is a pivotal moment in our nation’s history, fraught with danger but also the opportunity for progressive, beneficent reforms. We must tread carefully. Donald Trump and Michael Waltz only work to enrich the already wealthy. I will be a strong advocate for progressive policies that benefit all Americans rather than just those at the top of our economy. I’m a community maker and consensus builder. I’m a big-picture leader who also has a fine eye for history and details. I will network relentlessly, hire and train a hard-working team of upstanding public servants, and set a national example for constituent service and congressional effectiveness.