Shawn views every issue through the lens of putting people first. If there is a person who is missing out or who is hurt by a policy then it needs to be rethought. If the government isn’t putting people first, then something is broken.
This mindset was formed through two primary experiences. First the lessons learned from his mom. Shawn’s mother had a servant’s heart. Everything she did was to lift up those around her. She spent her life trying to create learning experiences for every one she came into contact with. The most valuable lesson she taught was to reflect and improve on everything we do for others. Always look for ways to help, always leave it better than you found it and always make a list for how to do it better next time.
The second experience was a near-death encounter in Thailand. In 2007 on a semester abroad, Shawn fell off of an approximately twenty foot high cliff and landed face first onto rock. It was determined that Shawn had a bleed on the brain and needed to have brain surgery to relieve the pressure. After surgery Shawn remained in a coma for almost three weeks. Fortunately Shawn did not suffer any long term consequences from the accident, but he did receive a new perspective on life. Which was: the most valuable thing in life is the relationships that he we will or will not be remembered for. We have so much to learn from each other and so many ways to work together; but to do that we have to value people above all else. Every day since he woke up from coma Shawn has made it a priority to put people first.
Every policy you hear Shawn talk about will be approached from this angle. We have to make sure we are putting people before all else. From a policy perspective this starts with family. All people need to be equipped to support their loved ones in communities that are safe, with strong school systems and with jobs that pay a livable wage. This is why Shawn believes that we need to focus on scaling back development, supporting school policies that reduce class size and pay teachers more, and provide the assistance needed to make sure all people in district 7 are able to work at a job that meets their needs and the needs of those that depend on them.