Shawn speaking with voters at a meet-and-greet gathering in a supporter’s home.

From a policy perspective, Shawn believes that all people need to be equipped to support their loved ones in communities that are safe and thriving, with strong schools and with jobs that pay a livable wage.

Shawn views public service and political issues through the lens of putting people first. If elected leaders and others in government aren’t putting people and the community’s needs first, something is broken. Two experiences in Shawn’s life helped form this outlook.

The first are the lessons Shawn learned from his mom, whom he describes as having “a servant’s heart.” Shawn’s mom spent her life trying to create positive learning experiences for everyone she came into contact with. A teacher by profession, she taught Shawn and others to reflect and improve on what we do for one another, to always look for ways to help, and to leave a place or situation better than when you arrived. Another guidepost: Make a list about how to do things better in the future.

The second experience was Shawn’s brush with death while spending a semester abroad in Thailand. During a hiking trip, he lost his footing and fell from a 20-foot-high cliff, landing on a rock. After surgery, Shawn remained in a coma for almost three weeks. He fully recovered from the 2007 accident and gained a new perspective on life, which is that the most valuable thing in all of our lives are the relationships we will or will not be remembered for. Every day since waking from the coma, Shawn has made it a priority to put people first.

This is also why equity and fairness is so important to Shawn. He believes that all people should have fair access to voting, needed healthcare, economic opportunity, and self-actualization — and that all levels of government must guarantee and protect such rights, especially in the most personal of situations.