I am excited you are interested in learning more about my campaign and my vision for a better tomorrow. I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District. My 35 years of experience in the commercial Real Estate development and brokerage business gives me a unique perspective on how to tackle challenges we face. Real estate touches many different industries. I’ve had the opportunity to build long-term relationships with business owners, farmers, truckers, light manufacturing, livestock producers, farm implement businesses and many other agriculture-related businesses. My entrepreneurial success comes from the reputation I built in business over the years. I have always understood that a man is only as good as his word and he is judged most by his character; so throughout my career, I have worked to maintain high standards and stand by my principles, even when it was uncomfortable or unpopular to do so.
I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I earned a degree in Marketing Education. After graduation, I went on to represent and consult corporate clients, private businesses, and individuals with the sale or lease of their real estate.
During the formative years of my career, I gained valuable experience working with local and state officials on zoning, planning, administrative subdivisions, sanitary improvements districts (SID), and construction permitting in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. I also have experience consulting clients on 1031-tax deferred exchanges, railroad properties, and state right of way. As my career grew, I had the opportunity to lead on commercial, industrial, and residential property development in Iowa, Nebraska, California, Colorado, and Texas.
Over my career, I have seen government work with the private sector to advance projects; but more often than not, I’ve seen the government create miles of red tape because it helps certain bureaucrats justify their jobs. I became skilled at navigating red tape and helping minimize it whenever possible.
I trace my success in life back to the humble beginnings of my grandparents – Marshall and Helen Conner. They were farmers in southwest Iowa, raising six children in a loving Christian home. My mother, Virginia, moved to Omaha when she was 17 years old to work at a flour brokerage firm. My father, Dan, grew up in Omaha with eight siblings, the son of a carpenter, and devout Catholic parents. My father was a World War II Navy veteran and a man of his word. While my parents never attended college, they understood the importance of having a college education. They made sure their three children had the opportunity to go to college.
My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic, a devotion to God and my faith, the desire to give back to my community, and a keen interest in being an entrepreneur. When I was 14, I had a daily newspaper route; it was from this job, I learned the value of being a reliable employee. In the summer, like so many other Midwestern kids, I detasseled corn. Working at the Omaha Stockyards for a livestock commissioner representing small farmers and livestock operators in Nebraska and Iowa gave me an appreciation for the hard work our ag producers do every day. During high school, I worked at Hinky Dinky Supermarket stocking shelves. During college, I worked at a package liquor store, and in the summers, I ran my own business installing irrigation systems and painting homes and commercial buildings. These jobs, as well as watching my father in business, were formative in instilling in me an admiration for entrepreneurialism.
I have been married to my wife, Brenda, for 31 years. Together, we have managed our real estate development business buying buildings and renovating residential and commercial properties. Brenda has an eye for design and oversees that part of our business while I manage construction. Brenda grew up in Pocahontas, Iowa. We have two daughters. Emily Rose graduated from Pepperdine University Seaver College, is married, and runs her own business. Anna Louise graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. She is in graduate school at Columbia University in New York City.
Giving back to my community has always been important to me. I am a member of the Iowa Farmers Union, Organic Farmers Association, and Iowa Prairie Network. I am fortunate to have used my professional experience to serve as past chairman of the Commercial Investment Council of the Omaha Board of Realtors. I served on the board of the East Central Pheasants Forever chapter for 17 years and was fortunate to have the opportunity to develop numerous habitat projects while serving as the chapter’s Habitat Chairman. I served on the Advisory Board of the Budge Porter Project in Omaha. For six years, I was a mentor for Tom and Nancy Osbourne’s TeamMates Mentoring Program. I also volunteered helping youth for the nonprofit organization, Solutions for Change, which helps homeless parents find jobs.