Hometown: Prairie View, Ill.
Birthday: March 22
I was born in Elgin, 10 minutes before my twin brother, Tim. He has since made up for his tardiness in height, towering over me today by about 1 and 1/2 feet. He and I are tied for the youngest in the family—though I like to consider myself a middle child—and have two older brothers.
I grew up on one of the last standing farms in what is now the well-developed area of Prairie View. For those who do not know the town, it is a northwest suburb of Chicago sandwiched in the middle of Long Grove, Buffalo Grove and Lincolnshire.
I moved to Minnesota to attend Winona State University, which is situated right on the Mississippi River. During my time there, I left for six months to study abroad in Granada, Spain, where I traveled throughout the provinces and even to Pamplona for the running of the bulls.
I returned to Illinois in June 2007 after graduating with a B.A. in Mass Communications: Journalism and Spanish. I wrote for The Daily Chronicle in DeKalb until June 2010. There, I covered education for about two years, crime for nearly one and during my home stretch, delved into issues centered on the governments of DeKalb County and the City of Sycamore. Some call me adventurous but that's not to say I do not relish the simple pleasures in life, like enjoying a good meal or fine wine, curling up with an addictive book or spending time with friends and family.
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I do not identify with any particular party, mostly because I do not think my beliefs can be bundled into a neat or tidy package. I am a progressive thinker on the social issues front. I believe in circumstances, open-mindedness, fairness and justice. I do not allow my personal stance on political issues to cloud my judgment in the ballot box and when it's all said and done, I vote for the best man or woman for the job. After all, we cannot always agree on everything.
I grew up in the Eastern Orthodox Christian church and spent every Sunday morning I can remember as a child and young adult attending church school and its subsequent services. Many lessons learned in that church—the same building in which I was baptized and my parents remain active members today—will stick with me forever, though I no longer attend regular services. One day I may return to doing so. I consider myself to be a spiritual person but I sometimes question the organization of it all.