After graduating high school in Winneconne, Wisconsin, I attended Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, from 1987 to 1991. During my time in college I was active in student activities, eventually serving as president of the student body. Other activities included organizing a telethon to raise money for a school in Uganda and laying the groundwork for a statewide conference on youth driving safety and substance abuse. Another highlight was earning the Outstanding Senior in Music Education award in 1991. During the summers, I worked as a counselor for Imago Dei Ministries in central Wisconsin. Extensive experience in this setting contributed to my mastery of community-building techniques and an understanding of youth development.
I earned my Master of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 2003.
My political involvement has influenced my perspective on leadership and interpersonal relations, as well as helped me gain expertise in public speaking, organization and communication. In 1992 I campaigned on my own behalf to become the youngest of Iowa’s 59 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. This experience convinced me that the political arena needs more focus in the areas of character, honesty, and ideal-driven leadership. In 1994 I sought the office of State Representative for Iowa House district 32, challenging a 20-year incumbent. While I didn’t win the race, I did run a solid campaign that was singled out by the Des Moines Register as one of the few “Races to Watch” that year.
For the last ten years I have lived in Winterset, Iowa, with my wife, Julie, and daughter, Mara. I enjoy competitive Scrabble, cooking, eating, traveling, running, and politics. I have been to Disney World multiple times with various groups, and I love helping others plan trips to that magical place.