In 1987 I earned a B.S. in computer science at the U. of S. Mississippi Honors College, and then an M.S. in computer science from the U. of Michigan. I moved to the Peninsula in 1990 to work at Sun Microsystems, and in 1998 I married Melisse Lusin. Melisse grew up in Orange County, earned an MBA at Stanford, and is a financial analyst at Genentech. Our daughter Zoe was born in May 2000, and in 2001 Sun redeployed my team's responsibility offshore while we were expecting the birth of our son. I was using the severance package as paid paternity leave when our eight-day-old son Blake suddenly and inexplicably died of a bowel infarction on Sep 14, 2001. We were devastated by Blake's death, but have been comforted by the positive effect that the memory of his short life has had on those who've heard his story.
When my severance pay ended in April 2002 I joined Yahoo! to work on its online matchmaking product. My career is a good example of how the free market is an efficient allocator of resources. I had worked for eleven years on Sun's proprietary Solaris operating system, which was a cutting-edge product in the 1990s but is being eclipsed by open-source operating systems like Linux and FreeBSD. Market forces prompted Sun to relocate much Solaris maintenance overseas, which freed me to work with an open-source OS at Yahoo in the rapidly-expanding matchmaking industry. In moving me to a more productive (and more fun and lucrative) position at Yahoo, Sun's freedom to fire was as essential as Yahoo's freedom to hire.
I've been an advocate of free markets ever since reading Free to Choose, the 1980 bestseller by the Hoover Institute's Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman. Even before renouncing religion while in college, I had never been comfortable with the religious moralizing of the Republican Party. However, I knew that the Republicans almost never implement their worst ideas (restraints on civil liberty), whereas the Democrats almost always implement theirs (restraints on economic liberty). In the late 1980s I started voting Libertarian in state and local elections, but still voted Republican in federal elections on the theory that the Democrats in Congress were causing too much injustice in how they distort free markets to favor special interests. When the Republicans took complete control in Washington in 2001 for the first time since 1955, I was confident that they would implement entitlement reform, spending cuts, and free trade. Instead, they gave us a bloating of Medicare, more corporate welfare, and steel tariffs. I could no longer blame just the Democrats for Washington's massive special-interest drag on the economy, and started to become active in Libertarian politics. I ran for San Carlos School Board in 2001 but suspended my campaign when our son died. Our second daughter Shannon was born in August 2003 and our third daughter Heather was born in April 2006. In 2004 I agreed to run for Congress in order to offer voters an alternative to the obsolete special-interest Left/Right politics of the entrenched incumbent parties.