My family traces its roots in Ohio to the 1850s. After graduating from Central College in 1985, with a degree in political science and Spanish, I spent four years working for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting free market capitalism and limited government. While at CEI, I learned a great deal about the infinite potential entrepreneurs possess to create prosperity when left alone by the government.
In 1990, my wife, newborn daughter Annalea, and I returned to Marietta to raise our family. Upon our return I went to work for my family’s business, Bird Watcher’s Digest. I am the publisher of the magazine, my brother is the editor, my sister is the circulation director, and my mother is in charge of customer service. My parents launched the magazine in 1978 during the worst economic conditions our country had experienced since the Great Depression. Despite the many difficult years, they succeeded in developing the company and now my siblings and I endeavor to maintain its success through yet another economic downturn.
In 2005, I decided to run for Marietta City Council because the city was in dire need of leaders who appreciated the importance of a business-friendly environment, less red tape, bureaucratic consolidation (and in some cases, elimination), and fiscal restraint. I was elected to a third term in 2009.
I have been married to Jade Thompson for 29 years. We met in college while we were both studying abroad in Spain. She is a Spanish teacher at Marietta High School and has also taught at the collegiate and elementary school levels. As a public school teacher, Jade is keenly aware of the problems we face to improve our schools, and she has been a terrific sounding board as I consider proposals for our ailing education system. We have three children. Annalea is 24 and lives and works in Chicago Graduate of Miami University. Nat is 22 and attending Muskingum University, and Gus is 14 and a freshman at Marietta High School.
My family is quite musical and for 10 years I played guitar and piano and wrote music and sang for the Swinging Orangutangs. We never quite made it to the Grammy Awards but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. Nowadays, I am spending more time rediscovering the writings of our founding fathers; promoting local economic development; and serving my community through the Rotary Club. I am an avid, but inconsistent, golfer, an NRA member, and a fitness enthusiast.
If you suspect I might be a member of the despised “Christian class,” guilty as charged. Our family attends St. Luke’s Lutheran Church where I’ve been quite active for many years. I am also unapologetically proud to be an American and unabashedly Conservative.