I have lived in Western Pennsylvania for over 30 years and am a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, with a 5 year Russian Language and History degree. I am married to my lovely wife Natasha and currently reside in Forest Hills with our dog, Atlas. My wife is a former art educator at Propel Braddock Hills High School and we currently work together at our businesses.
After graduating and having a hard time finding stable employment during the 2008 recession, I worked periodically as a line cook, delivery driver, carpenter, landscaper and would move furniture to support myself.
After years of struggling to save and pay down student debt, my brother and I decided to form our own business, Shadyside Nursery. I had no idea how hard running a business is, but every year we worked to be better and evolve. Like any start up, we lost money at first but every year we got better. Ten years later, we have become a successful retail nursery and a landscape/construction company.
Most importantly, our business became a community space. We have helped other small businesses start up, host regular events such as yoga, Weather Permitting and fundraisers for groups such as Planned Parenthood, Global Pittsburgh, Hope Made Real, and many others. Even when our business struggled, I was constantly reminded of the importance of community and mutual support, which led me to start actively volunteering - I’ve been a big brother at Big Brothers Big Sisters for over a decade, and my wife and I donate as much of our time and money towards service as we can.
I took the lessons that I learned from running Shadyside Nursery and applied them to rehabilitating and reinventing the WBU, a 110-year-old, social/union hall that was about to collapse in the Spring Hill Neighborhood of Pittsburgh. From this project, I learned an immense amount about zoning laws/building inspection, how city council functions and the power of perseverance.
I also am an advocate for the PA Farmers Union, through this advocacy I have met a lot of legislators across the state. With few exceptions, I am never impressed with their concern or their understanding of topics relevant to the average citizen's life. There is a reason PA does not work for most of its citizens, it is career politicians and the money that influences them on both sides of the political spectrum.
These experiences have led me to run for office against the most powerful Democrat in PA. I strongly believe that we need to change the way our government works in order to actually offer new solutions. Look at any candidates campaign fiance reports to see who they actually are supported by. (here)
I know this is a tough battle but I have persevered through many “impossible” tasks before and I intend to attack this with the same tenacity. I ask for your support. Please consider voting for change in this April’s primary.