You need to know your congressperson. You need to understand and trust me. So, I want to speak to you as a new friend, not as a robotic public figure. You need to meet me as a person, not simply a professional.
Nothing has shaped me quite like my wife and my son. My parents did all they could to make me a decent, hardworking, and caring person, but maturity came slowly for me. I can honestly say marriage and fatherhood made me the man I am, and my family’s love is what pushes me to be better. In fact, that love is what pushed me to run for Congress. My family deserves better than what the world currently offers.
Before I graduated from Boston College in 2009, the Great Recession hit. My mother made me apply to law schools. I wasn’t terribly interested, but there were no jobs. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after I graduated. So, last minute, no other options available – I ended up going to Florida State University College of Law.
North Florida is a bit different from Rhody. There’s a great blues club just outside of town, but beyond that, I didn’t connect much with Tallahassee. Law school is miserable, but my classmates were phenomenal and the summer studies at Oxford woke me back up. I was thinking about transferring home to Roger Williams, but then I met a girl. Jenica does everything with a certain sense of grace and style that’s inviting instead of pretentious. It’s a balancing act almost no one masters. I am who I am because of her.
Jenica kept me in Tallahassee for a little while and then I dragged her home to Rhode Island.
At home, I promised Jenica that if she survived a New England winter, we would get a dog. So we got Chewbacca, a scruffy little pound pup, and we started making our life together.
Jenica and I bought a three-family in Providence on the show House Hunters, and we started to become a part of the RI community. We joined the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, a WEFA Soccer League (and won a couple of championships), and Jenica joined the choir at our local Catholic Church.
My career was growing, I was building a reputation for myself. I was focused on the law practice and volunteering here and there. Then one night I came home from work and Jenica was just simply glowing.
Next thing you know, we had a baby boy. My wife gave birth to Copeland James on January 16, 2019. When my son first heard my voice, mere seconds after he was born, he turned to look at me. I’ll never forget it. I work every day to ensure that no matter what happens, my son can turn to look at me and I can meet his gaze knowing I have done all I could for him.
Once I became a father, a new energy sparked within me to do more. Right now, this world seems like it needs people to stand up and do more. I am ready and able. I’m blessed with friends and family willing to stand up and do more.
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