Every candidate is given the opportunity to answer our candidate questionnaire. Below are the answers to the questions this candidate chose to answer as submitted.
Political Party: Democrat
Education: B.S. Psychology, University of Maryland; M.S. Strategic Intelligene (Middle East Concentration), National Intelligence University; M.S. Business Analytics, Arizona State University
Office Running For: State Representative
Current Employment: Riverside Research
Where are you from: Santa Maria, California
Are you a Veteran? If so which branch and rank? Yes. USAF Enlisted and Commissioned Officer (Intelligence); Maj, USAF (Ret.)
Why are you running: Florida is evolving into a progressive state whose citizens demand comprehensive legislative reforms and real leadership on serious issues. We can drive these reforms to deliver affordable healthcare, economic equality, educational reform, climate activism through an aggressive, common sense agenda that serves all Floridians. I am running for State Representative because I truly believe fresh leadership is required to meet these challenges and I want our children to know that we are not powerless in the face of our problems. Because I believe we can build a 21st Century Florida that encourages inclusive and sustained economic growth with a focus on middle-class opportunity. Because I believe healthcare should be considered a right and not just a privilege for those who can afford it. Because I know our education system is good, but can evolve into a true engine of opportunity available as a bridge to the American Dream. Because I know that our climate is changing and if we do not respond with decisive action, our children will suffer the consequences of our inaction. I am running to keep our community and state moving forward by addressing our problems head on through a progressive platform that seeks to unite Floridians in the face of an uncertain future – because there is more that unites us than divides us.
What are your top three priorities if you are elected:
I will give you four priorities because Florida has multiple critical issues, we need to address NOW in order to course correct and compete on a national scale.
- Economy. To build a 21st Century Florida economy, we need to encourage inclusive and sustained economic growth with a focus on middle-class opportunity, small-business investment, and cutting-edge innovation that brings Florida to the forefront of the technological revolution. We can achieve this through access to living wages without hurting small business. We can also expand entrepreneurship and community investment through incentivized support to low and moderate income neighborhoods. Finally, we can accelerate public and private sector investment with a focus on resilient infrastructure and green initiatives to create better jobs, enhance quality of life, and reduce the overall impacts of climate change on the Space Coast.
- Healthcare for all. My mother died one year short of receipt of Medicare so this is personal for me. We have a real problem in Florida. Our system is 48th in the nation in quality care because our leaders have failed to enact common sense reforms preferred by a majority of Floridians. Healthcare should be a right, but I believe that right extends to both a public and private options for health insurance. So first and foremost we will start with Medicaid expansion for over 800,000 Floridians. Then, I will fight for healthcare price transparency, pursue healthcare tort reform, reign in prescription drug prices, drive healthcare data interoperability, defend women’s health initiatives, and fight the opioid epidemic with focused rehabilitation and better enforcement mechanisms for our law enforcement.
- Climate Action and Energy Independence. Climate change is undeniable, humans are the cause, and we are going to act with a sense of urgency unmatched by any other state, because the costs of inaction are too high. That’s the boiler plate every Democrat says, then they get elected and ignore the problem. I decided to run for office because my kids began asking about the climate and why we weren’t addressing it effectively.
Here is the deal. Without a doubt, Florida sea-levels will rise, hurricanes and flooding will worsen, and our economy will be decimated if we do not rise to meet the greatest challenge of our time with unmatched sense of purpose and resolve. We have a moral obligation protect our children. Fortunately, we live in a state with an abundance of resources that afford us the opportunity to lead the nation in a green energy revolution with pragmatic policies that create jobs, protect our infrastructure, and boost economic growth.
- Education. Florida’s education is good, but we need it to be great to build a 21st century workforce that acts an engine of opportunity to the American dream here in Florida. This will drive families to live here and help us recruit and retain the best and the brightest teachers. Together, we can increase recruitment for quality teachers, support pay increases for veteran teachers, and increase base student allocations per child, which really just gives school districts the flexibility they need to succeed.
Outdated educational policies need to be replaced if Floridians want to outperform every other state. That is why we will push to make higher education affordable (including free community college) and close the skills gap through incentives for high-demand fields. We can also drive targeted investment in Pre-K through 12 technical education, renew focus in our civic education, and provide new avenues for skilled worker accreditation when college is not the preferred course.
What do you think is the number 1 problem in your district related to the office you are running for:
Climate change. As a former intelligence analyst, the military has been tracking the future impact of climate change across the globe and we are not immune to it’s effects. Changes to climate will cause increased flooding, wreak havoc on our 178B tourism industry, disproportionately affect minority communities, and potentially devastate our space industry. However, with every problem there is opportunity. Aggressive climate action will mitigate the impact of climate change and can push us to build a resilient infrastructure that is prepared for any challenges ahead. Preemptive action will ensure we protect our space and tourism industry and ensure our people are safe and secure in the coming years. Preemptive action ensures we can build a BETTER economy with improved jobs that fuels our Florida economy. We are not doing this for us folks, we are doing it for our kids and their kids. This is our time to rise to the challenge and I know we can meet it head on if we work together.
How will you involve your constituents in your decision making: As a military leader, the trick is to shut up and listen. Civic leadership is no different, so I expect my constituents to be engaged with me continuously to ensure I understand their pain points, potential solutions, and can decisively act when problems arise. I will have weekly town halls (virtual and in various parts of my district) with constituents to ensure their needs are met and, when required, go to bat to ensure that the legislature and Governor hear their concerns. My office hours will always be open. Any problem. Any time.
Do you plan to run for a higher office: No; however, if I need to run for higher office to help build a better world for my kids, I will absolutely step forward to do so.fice. My plan is to serve the citizens of Brevard County and Florida.
How will you address infrastructure in your district:
Florida’s population has grown at a rate of 1% per year or about 1 million residents, which is equivalent to adding a city the size of Jacksonville every five years. And we have a host of problems to address to meet current and future state infrastructure requirements for Florida. 2% of bridges are structurally deficient; 9% of roads are in poor condition; and we have $806 million dollars in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next twenty years. These are just some of the problems we will have to address and includes surface transport, utilities, airports, rail, ports or waterways, and technology. These are the problems…so let’s talk solutions.
To BUILD a 21st Century Florida as our foundational pillar and a driver for the state’s economic health, we need to ask the question of what Florida should look like in 50 or 100 years? We must stop looking in the rear-view mirror and look forward to a Florida that is urbanized, tech-driven, and faced with unprecedented natural disasters. Our infrastructure should be built accordingly and serve as a shining example for the rest of the nation.
Given the coastal and technological advantages we have on the Space Coast, we can expand urbanization efforts to not just improve roads, but to also build protected bike lanes to stream non-automotive travel. Further, as the Space Coast expands, so too can we build next-generation infrastructure to provide commuters with affordable and efficient means of travel, or mobility as a service. All options can be explored to improve urban and suburban mobility to include high-speed water taxis, light rail, and expanded battery-electric bus fleets with autonomous functions that will be more efficient and lower operating costs.
Next we can address technology and infrastructure in Brevard to marry our scinetific reputation with our need for an equivalent technological infrastructure. So we can push for improved public and private sector partnerships for integration of faster networks with greater bandwidth. This focus on technology can also drive a push towards mainstreaming local and state operations to better focus on efficient planning for our smart cities and robust integration of green-energy solutions such as solar and wind.
Next we can expand our focus to address the effects of climate change on Brevard County, which will be immense in the coming years. Here, we must demand that we build resilient and sustainable infrastructure such as raised roadbeds, proper drainage systems, and strengthened levies and seawalls to protect key infrastructure such as Cape Canaveral and our valuable shorelines in Melbourne, Satellite Beach, Melbourne Beach, and Indiatlantic.
We can pay for our next generation infrastructure through exploring options such as decreased regulation when able, user fees such as freight tax, increased corporate income tax, institutional investment (e.g. bonds), general taxation, fees, and through a renewed focus on public-private partnerships.
Infrastructure must be our priority in Brevard because it will create jobs, protect us from climate change, and will build the foundational pillar that will drive our economy for the next century. So we will get it done. Period.
How will you address crime in your district? Crime rates in Brevard county have been in decline for years which is in line with the national trend. Here in Brevard, we have brave men and women who do amazing work defending our families, our property, and our lives. As a career military officer, I applaud their bravery. With that said, we can both honor their bravery and still have a discussion on the failures of our criminal justice system as it relates to crime. Therefore we can provide the best resources for the Brevard Sheriff while simultaneously addressing institutional reforms at the state level to include keeping our kids in school or providing good alternatives (e.g. skilled training), reducing mandatory minimum sentencing, ending cash bail, ending for profit prisons, and modernizing our response to mental health and drug related crimes with alternatives to arrest and incarceration programs. These are just a few of the reforms that we must accomplish and we can get them done at the state level if we support a unity agenda with Republicans for criminal justice reform in our state.
How will you address affordable housing? We have a real problem in Brevard County. Median monthly rent increases are at record highs and nearly 30% of Brevard’s renters qualified as severely overburdened. This isn’t just a problem for extremely low-income workers, the problem is expanding to traditionally middle class wage earners in Brevard and will impact how we attract new families to the region. Therefore we must explore tested policies for affordable housing have proven success First and foremost, we will ensure the $2B dollar Sadowski Trust for affordable housing is fully funded every year. But we have more work to do which includes exploration of rent control policies, streamlining permitting for residential construction, creating affordable housing loan funds to spur development, capping property tax increases for dwellings that include a portion of low-income housing, and allow/promote tiny houses in key portions of the district. We have seen failed policies in other states result in increased homelessness, but through swift and efficient action, we can dramatically improve access to affordable housing across our district and optimize the way our District houses its people.
How will you address environmental concerns in your district?: Climate Action tied to infrastructure investment is my number one priority because it touches every aspect of our lives in Brevard. Together we can strengthen clean water initiatives in the Indian River Lagoon, increase R&D for next-generation green technologies (solar, wind, nuclear), invest in resilient infrastructure, and make a commitment to aggressive cap-and-trade initiatives that can actually put money right back into the hands of Floridians.
Why are you a better choice than your opponents:
If you look at my opponent’s record, you will see a career politician who moves to Republican districts where he can win an election and then does virtually nothing for his constituents. Sound dangerous? No. Does it make you mad that your elected leader hides in Tallahassee and doesn’t vote in your best interests? It should.
Listen, my mom and dad raised me to believe that public service, not politics, was something to aspire to. That is why I raised my hand to serve the military and that is why I am raising my hand again–this time to ask for your vote. I am a Democrat in a VERY red district, but I want you to understand that first and foremost, I am a good man who honors his word. And that word comes with a promise to serve Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in District 52 with fierce individuality and an unparalleled commitment to each and every citizen of Brevard. Leaders run towards the fight, not away from it. Thad Altman has been running away from being a leader at the detriment of this community for too long and it is time we allow him running right out of public service. I promise to fight for every single one of you on issues that will make us stronger as a community, united in purpose.
What is your past political experience:
None and I wear it as a badge of honor. Brevard needs a young, fresh voice in Tallahassee beholden to no special interests. My reputation for getting things done is second to no one and I am confident I will help lead our state with honor.
Opponents and the media research public records, police reports, credit information and do other background checks in an effort to discover tax liens, lawsuits, arrest records and other unfortunate things. Are there any issues your opponent could use against you that you wish to disclose:
No. I have an active TOP SECRET clearance with the United States government and therefore have passed the most stringent background check available.
Are there any other comments you’d like to make?
We live in divisive times in which we are told that the other side of the aisle is evil, a rat, and a communist traitor. We know that isn’t the case and that there is more that unites us than divides us, regardless of party affiliation. Floridians want high-paying jobs, living wages, better schools, safe cities, and a roof over their head that can handle a hurricane. The other issues are wedge issues that are meant to make use think that we are farther apart than we really are. We are all just Floridians trying to make a good life for our families.
Here is my ask. Treat my opponent and me without regard for the Republican or Democrat next to our names. Then, measure the candidate by what they have done and what they say they will do. I am a man who fought for his country for most of his adult life and is now ready to fight for better wages, an improved middle class, better healthcare, improved schools for our kids, and aggressive action on really complex issues such as climate change. I have graduated with distinction in every school, I’ve been rated as a top officer in every organization, and now I’m asking you to give me a chance to lead District 52 with distinction. I humbly ask for your vote because I know deep in my heart that the alternative is bad for the people of Brevard County. It is bad because our area needs someone who has been poor, has struggled to pay bills, and in the end, dug his way out to become a man of substance. A fresh face who is hungry for real, positive change in this county. Who you vote for at the top of the ticket is not my concern, but if ‘Brevardians’ are as independent as they say, I ask you stop at District 52 and vote with your gut. Who do you want to represent this district in Tallahassee, a hollow suit who votes how he is told or a highly educated combat veteran who will do right by his constituents?
Please list any websites or social media links to your campaign if you have any:
Candidate Webpage: www.DabbsforD52.com