I grew up in a small town an hour outside of Houston, and I still remember the sense of awe and excitement I got when I was young and my family would drive into the city for any number of reasons: shopping at the Galleria; viewing spectacular exhibits at the city's premiere museums; enjoying the Tony Award-winning performances at The Alley Theatre or a concert; or to see the Rockets or Astros play for national championships.
While I still hold sincere affections for that small town in which I grew up, even as a young child I felt Houston calling me. Today, when I get on a plane to return to Houston after traveling, I feel it call me still. A sense of warmth grows inside me knowing that I'm about to return home to the city I love most of all.
When people who don't know what a great city Houston is ask me why I love our city so much, the first thing I tell them is that Houstonians are what makes Houston such an amazing city. It's a city blessed with an immensely diverse, talented, creative, intelligent, and friendly population. Then I tell them about the Tex-Mex.
Long ago, I left that small town in which I grew up to attend the University of Texas at Austin where I graduated with a BBA in finance. Subsequently, after moving to Houston, I ended up commuting to and working for my family's rural three-newspaper publishing business until it was successfully sold to a larger publishing company.
At its heart the newspaper industry in which I grew up - at its best - strives to educate the public about the world around them. Working in the newspaper industry taught me something about myself that surprised me: more than anything else, I'm motivated by what I can do to empower and free others to shape a better world for the present and for the future.
So, it seemed natural after following my father's footsteps into the journalism business for me to, once the newspapers were sold, then follow my mother's footsteps into the education profession to pursue my passion to eradicate ignorance in one domain in particular that most greatly impacts and seems to most mystify the public - economics.
It has been my great pleasure to teach economics for the past five years to some very bright and talented students that give me great hope for the future, and to also coach competitive swimming at the summer league, high school, and USA Swimming club levels.
I know that when I get up in the morning, what I do all day matters in ways that I may never be able to fully appreciate.
Swimming is a great lifelong sport that I both coach and still participate in as a U.S. Masters swimmer. I try to teach my athletes what I have learned from the sport, which is that hard work, dedication, and continuous self improvement count the most. We are all born with certain innate strengths and weaknesses. It's how we are able to develop our strengths to capitalize on them while also strengthening our weaknesses that matters - regardless of the talent we are born with, the adversities we face, or at what stage of life we find ourselves.
I think there are many applications of those insights to the future growth and development of the city of Houston as we become confident in our identity as an emerging major force in the American urban landscape. We must stop apologizing for what we will never have - such as Mediterranean climate or breathtaking natural wonders.
In fact, Houston proves that the human wonders of entrepreneurial initiative and industriousness - relatively free of the burdens of government heavy-handedness compared to other large American cities - are more powerful and important than natural wonders. So, instead of attempting to emulate other cities around the United States that are in decline while Houston has ascended, we should recognize and emphasize what has made our city prosperous.
Still, we should use that initiative and industriousness to improve upon our weaknesses - such as the lacking of and abundance of aesthetic natural assets - by accentuating those we do have in unique ways to maximize Houstonians' enjoyment of our great city and so we can show the world our best Houston.
As I hope you can see, I'm not running for Houston City Council because I'm seeking to become a public servant. I am a public servant. I'm simply seeking to make an impact beyond 150 students a semester and instead do my small part to help unlock and unleash the potential of the 2.2 million people of the city of Houston.
I'm running for Houston City Council At-Large Position 4 because I firmly believe that together we can build a greater Houston.