I’ve told many people in the past that I’m not a politician. Until about 10 years ago, I never really go into politics at all. In 2011 I became a father, and I really started to think about how the decisions made in our government would affect my daughter later in life. In the summer of 2015, I moved to Wisconsin to be with my daughter and for a better job. I’ve enjoyed living in Wisconsin and look forward to what my future holds here.
Then, November of 2016 happened. Realistically though, that November was only a collimnation of the events that have been occurring on the national landscape for years. People are angry because government isn’t working for the people. We have become more divisive over the past decade, and we try to point blame at each other. After the election results came in, and Donald Trump was declared President Elect, I made the decision to run for office so I could help protect the future for my daughter.
I was born in 1979 to Carl and Cathy Rundblade in Rockford, IL where I grew up. My father, whom I greatly respect, helped to incorporate a city just north of Rockford called Machesney Park. He was on the board to draw up and submit the filing to become a new village. He did this to allow the citizens the power to stand up to the county and other cities and allow the residents to have their own voice. On top of helping to create a new city, he was a volunteer firefighter for over 30 years in the city that he had helped to build.
Both of my parents are now retired, mostly due to medical reasons. My father suffers from post-polio syndrome, which causes pain and weakness in his legs. While still able to walk, long periods of standing and walking are very difficult and prevent him from working. My mother also suffers from a form of degenerative spine issues also preventing her from working. While I am lucky that they are generally healthy, I know how much they struggle with medical bills. I’ll admit that we often argue about politics, but we both understand that my goals are simply for the good of the average person.
In 1998, when I turned 18, I also became a volunteer firefighter following in my fathers footsteps. I was a firefighter for over 15 years, where I gave a large chunk of my free time. I did not join the fire department to get rich. While it was a “paid on call” department, we only received around $20 a call whether the call lasted 10 hours, or 10 minutes. I joined to help people. When the call came out, I responded and didn’t ask questions. When I arrived on scene, I did everything I could to help those who needed help. I never once asked if the person calling deserved the help, I just helped. That’s who I am, and that’s who my father was. Volunteer firefighters risk their lives for people they have never met simply because someone needs to. I was proud to be a firefighter, and those same values will drive how I represent the 5th district.
I’m going to be honest here, I don’t have a degree. I attended a community college in Rockford, but could never decide what I wanted to do. I started with a desire to get a degree in network engineering with a focus on wireless since I knew wireless was going to become the standard. After a couple semesters of that, I decided to focus on my true desire which was meteorology. While working through many of the required basic classes, I found that I enjoyed writing and politics and decided that political speech writing may be a solid choice. I ultimately made (the bad) decision to leave school and focus on “real life”. I absolutely regret that decision, and that is one of the reasons I want to help fight to make higher education free, or very affordable to everyone. I simply love to learn and understand how things work. I guess that’s the real reason I never finished a degree.
My Work History
I’ve worked retail my entire life. I’ve been a bagger at a grocery store, a pharmacy technician, a camera store manager, a warehouse worker, a home appliance delivery driver, and now I help coordinate appliance deliveries for the southeast corner of Wisconsin. Being in retail is tough. Most positions pay little, have few benefits, and require long hours. I am lucky to have the position I have now, and as tough as it was to get here, I value the experiences I’ve had over the years. Retail has allowed me to talk to tens of thousands of people from all walks of life.
Where I Stand
My life has given me a perspective of what I think America should be. I know how hard it is for the average American to get by today. It’s clear that the odds have been stacked against us. Our politicians now seem to work for their corporate donors and not the people. I don’t. I have been in service to the people my entire life whether as a firefighter or a retail worker. It is ingrained into who I am. My parents taught me the golden rule, and I strive to live by it. The idea of “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” is a simple, but incredibly powerful idea.
I want to represent you because I feel that you aren’t represented any longer by the current congress. I think that it’s time that an average American, that knows the everyday challenges of the vast majority of the population, has a chance to represent us. I absolutely believe that our government should truly be by the people and for the people. Right now it’s not, but you can help it be that once again.