Amazing Grace

Since my opponent, Roy Morales, entered the race, he and his team have spent all of their time trying to discredit our candidacy. Roy, along with his supporters and paid staff, have put out a variety of emails, Facebook messages, and even handing out material to prove their case of half-truths about me. They focus on our base supporters to get them to change their minds about supporting our candidacy for Houston City Council At Large Position #4. 

Their most recent attack is on my military record because I received an "Other Than Honorable" discharge from the Navy after serving inactive from March to Sept of 1995 and active duty from Sept 1995 to March 1997. A Roy supporter went on Facebook to ask the question:

If a person was kicked out of the Navy soon after boot camp would you consider them a "Military Man"?

I responded to the statement since it was completely inaccurate to tell the whole truth about my discharge. I even posted the only paperwork that I had to show my timeline in the military. Roy and staff then made copies of that paperwork and started handing it out at events to all of those in the audience in effort to sway them not to support me.

Roy, his supporters, and his team have tried really hard to get a reaction out of me, and so I thought I would give them what they want. My statement about the issue is....... THANK YOU!

Thank you for again bringing up something that I have discussed in major detail throughout my life as a part of my testimony to show how amazing God is, and just like the hymn "Amazing Grace" written by John Newton in 1779, can " a wretch like me!" 

According to an article written in TIME Magazine on June 28, 2015:

Amazing Grace was written by an Englishman who in the early part of his life was an outspoken atheist, libertine, and slave trader. John Newton was born in London in 1725, the son of a Puritan mother and a stern ship commander father who took him to sea when he was 11 (“I am persuaded that he loved me but he seemed not willing that I should know it,” he later wrote).

By 1745, Newton was enlisted in the slave trade, running captured slaves from Africa to, ironically, Charleston, S.C. After he rode out a storm at sea in 1748, he found his faith. He was ordained an Anglican priest in 1764 and became an important voice in the English abolitionist movement. At that time he wrote the autobiographical Amazing Grace, along with 280 other hymns.

I relate to John Newton because of how God used his time in the Navy to change his life just like God did for me nearly 20 years ago. I also relate to his friend, William Wilberforce, who felt two callings: One to go into the ministry and the other to go into politics. He chose to do both at the same time. 

When I joined the Navy all I had ever known was golf, but after boot camp, I decided to be a Damage Control Fire Fighter. My dad and brother-in-law had both been successful firefighters, and I too excelled in training and graduated in the top of my class. I was first stationed on the USS Kiska where I was encouraged by an officer to apply for an enlisted to officer program. I did, but I was transferred to the USS Gettysburg during the process. The new command was not near as encouraging, and the master chief did not want to lose a good sailor in damage control, so he denied signing my application.

Going up the chain of command, I submitted an additional request to transfer. I can only assume the master chief felt offended that I would continue pursuing my request. He made accusations that I violated a “zero tolerance” policy. The accusation inevitably resulted in an "Other Than Honorable" discharge from the military. I was devastated, because I felt that not only did I let myself down but also my country.

It was because of that experience is the reason why I gave my life completely to God to do whatever he wanted to do with it. I also learned that others will jealously guard their power, and use character attacks to get their way, or show they are stronger than others. I reject this bullying philosophy and endeavor to deal openly with others, honest and direct, and I aspire to be one small example for our political culture to take notice and inspire other good people to step up and take back the power to the people.

When I first announced my candidacy for Houston City Council At Large #4, I stated in my speech, "It’s time to break down the divisible walls in Houston that evokes us to point fingers at the opposition and instead extend our hand in efforts to find viable solutions on our common ground." Since then we have focused on running a positive "Campaign of Now" that has focused on attacking the issues of our city instead of the other candidates in this race because voters deserve to vote "FOR" someone instead of finding ways to stay home on election day like they have for several years. 

I am blessed to have my testimony, and I am not ashamed to share with anyone that wants to hear it. I also believe that if someone tries to use my testimony, that God has given me, to use to discredit me they will fail just as it says in Isaiah 54:11-17

Like Chris Tomlin sings in the above video:

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace.

I have learned from my life experiences and my mistakes. I thank God for what happened because if it didn't then I would have never met my amazing wife, been the father to a miracle son, or moved to Houston. I realize that God still wants to use me for His glory. For that I resoundingly say, Amen!