I am a fifth generation Californian, and this great part of California is in my DNA. I have raised horses, cattle, and llamas on my Mt. Shasta ranch, where I live much of the time is the only property I own. I have been a registered voter in Siskiyou County for years. While my professional work has taken me far and wide, and I have lived in different parts of the U.S. over the years to build my career, District 1 has always been home to me and is truly where my heart is. My wife Simone and I have three grown children—a daughter and twin sons. I am also blessed that my mother, at 92, is still very active and has set an example for all of us on how to live a meaningful life.
My grandfather, who was in the welding supply business, provided acetylene to the welders who built the Shasta Dam during the Great Depression. My father, an attorney, defended numerous landowners who were being shortchanged in eminent domain proceedings when their land was condemned for the building of I-5, and helped them get the fair market value for their land that they deserved. My cousin, Frank M. Jordan, was California’s Secretary of State for 30 years, serving both Republican and Democratic administrations. When the Lake Siskiyou Dam was created on public land, the entire shoreline was given over to a concession that charged fees to use any aspect of the lake. I, as a 16-year old, became appalled that our public land had been given to a private profiteer who could charge citizens to use public land! I called the Sheriff and told him the time and place that I was going to take an illegal swim in the lake and to come and arrest me. He sent two boats and three cruisers and I was handcuffed and dragged from the lake. At the subsequent trial, the judge dismissed the charges against me and the law was changed to allow public access.
I learned about hard work from an early age. During my eighth grade summer, I worked six days a week picking apricots on a farm in Gonzales. I was the only non-migrant on the crew. During high school, I worked as a carpenter in Mt. Shasta every summer. While attending graduate school, I paid my way by working full-time on the graveyard shift at a flour mill in Portland. I know manual labor and many of the issues that our workers struggle with every day.
I have had the good fortune in my work as a film director to travel the world and experience firsthand the successes and failures of many governments and political systems. I’ve seen the oppressive burdens imposed on citizens by Communism in Cuba, authoritarianism in Russia, apartheid in South Africa, and fundamentalist Islam in Iran. These life experiences have given me an up-close view of the best and the worst in governments and their leaders. And while I am baptized Episcopalian, as are my three children, I respect all religions and beliefs equally.
Through my work, I have helped raise millions of dollars for Farm Aid to support family farmers, for Hurricane Katrina relief, and for 9/11 First Responders.
We live in a unique part of California and are fortunate to be surrounded by some of the greatest natural beauty in the State. While we are a small population in the vastness of California, and it’s easy for us to be forgotten, We love our outdoors, our families, our friends, our churches, our communities, and our view of the world. We also respect hard work, individuality, and everyone having the opportunity to reach their potential. These are our values.