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Chris is a Pittsburgh native, Iraq War veteran, U.S. Naval Academy graduate, and voting rights attorney. As a lawyer, Chris worked to protect voting rights and our elections in his current role as the policy director at Pitt Cyber and previously at the Brennan Center for Justice. He was part of the Pitt Faculty Organizing Committee with the United Steelworkers, fighting successfully for a union. Chris lives with his wife, Zoe, three young children, and their dog, Yankee Doodle, in Allegheny County.
Chris received a Bachelor of Science degree with merit from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. Following graduation from the Naval Academy, he was commissioned as an active-duty surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy. Chris’s military service included three deployments, including a tour of duty as a U.S. Army Civil Affairs Officer in Iraq.
After returning from Iraq, Chris received his law degree magna cum laude from Georgetown Law in 2013, and clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Chris went on to work at the Brennan Center for Justice on the Voting Rights and Election Security teams. In Chris’s latest work with Pitt Cyber, he has focused on voting rights, election security, and the intersection of technology and civil rights.
Chris’s volunteer efforts have included work with the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania, pro bono legal assistance with the Veterans Consortium and for indigent tenants in Allegheny County, and service as a Naval Academy Blue and Gold Officer (mentoring and interviewing applicants to the Academy).
Our democracy is in peril. From limitless corporate money running through our political system, to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, to Republican voter suppression efforts in Harrisburg and across the country, and gerrymandered maps that serve politicians instead of the people – we need bold action to protect and strengthen our democracy.
Chris is deeply committed to defending our democracy and freedom to vote, going back to the oath of office he first took as a 17-year old at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, through his work at Pitt Cyber and the Brennan Center to defend our voting rights and elections. He will support legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, and he knows we need to overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Citizens United that opened the door to limitless corporate money in politics. Chris believes we’re all served better by impartial and fair maps, not gerrymandered ones. He won’t shy from a fight with those on the radical right who would attack our freedoms and throw out our elections in exchange for power.
Taking on Corporate Power
For far too long, we have allowed corporations to gain unhealthy power over so much of society and our lives. Consolidation of industries has cost us jobs, stifled competition, hurt consumers, killed small businesses, and left workers without options or bargaining power. Workers have suffered under corporate power that can fire you for any reason, dictate the terms of your job, and outsource your work at the drop of a hat. Corporations (supported by the Republican politicians they fund) have lobbied hard to slash taxes and regulations, all while pouring cash into our elections and enriching themselves and shareholders through huge profits, stock buybacks, and dividends.
We have to be willing to bolster antitrust enforcement, and Chris supports efforts in Congress and the Biden administration’s plans to do exactly that. Corporations should also pay their fair share of taxes and be held to account when they kill jobs and evade taxes through outsourcing and tax dodging schemes. With their massive corporate profits and stock gains throughout the pandemic, there is no reason why big corporations shouldn’t be contributing to rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and safety net. And when corporations cut corners on safety and other rules, we should be aggressive in protecting their workers, customers, and neighbors.
The Union Way of Life
Chris stands with the labor movement and supports the union way of life. He has fought alongside fellow Pitt faculty members and the United Steelworkers as a member of the Pitt Faculty Organizing Committee to secure a faculty union at Pitt (the biggest union election in the country in 2021).
It’s no surprise that the radical right and their corporate backers have been waging war against unions, one of the most important tools we have to push back against corporate power. Unions have been on the defensive for decades in the face of this rising corporate power, hostile judges, and governments willing to lure companies with anti-union so-called “right-to-work” laws. We know that unionized workers earn better wages, benefits, and working conditions, and it’s long past time we make it easier for folks to form and join a union.
Chris supports the PRO Act, legislation that would reset the playing field to give workers a fair shot at forming a union and to hold employers liable when they break the law, and efforts to protect the collective bargaining and other rights of both private and public sector workers. Chris also believes we have to fight to protect hard-earned pensions, resist outsourcing of jobs, and guard against efforts to privatize our government.
Universal Health Care
In the richest country in the history of the planet, it is obscene that some Americans cannot afford health care – or are stuck paying way too much for lousy care. Health care is a human right, and we cannot keep settling for an expensive, profit-driven health care system that leaves too many uninsured and under-insured. And even for those lucky enough to have health care through their job, that coverage is often too expensive and leaves people without real choice about who they can see for care. Medical bills simply should not be a leading cause of bankruptcy, as they are today. Denied claims, out of network providers, rip-off co-pays and deductibles: this system isn’t working for people.
Chris will fight to guarantee health care for every American. He supports efforts to lower the Medicare eligibility age; to expand Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing services; to allow Medicare to negotiate better prescription drug prices; to expand Medicaid coverage to home care services for seniors and people with disabilities; and to close the Medicaid coverage gap. Chris believes that health care is a human right and will work hard to expand Medicare to achieve universal coverage for all Americans.
No More Forever Wars
During Chris’s deployment to Iraq, he saw firsthand – like too many of his fellow veterans – the consequences of a war that we never should have fought. The forever wars have cost trillions of dollars and even more in American lives. If Chris is lucky enough to serve in Congress, he will never vote to send Americans to war unless absolutely critical to our national security, and he won’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and to demand answers from those beating the drumbeat of war. And Chris will never break faith with his fellow veterans, to whom we have a sacred obligation to care for through a fully funded and staffed VA.