Get to know Richard

I should mention that I have a PhD from The School Of Hard Knocks, and that is what has made me the man I am today.

I was born into a big Catholic and Republican family in Towson, Maryland, and have been a political junkie since I was practically in diapers. When other kids were watching cartoons, I was watching the Sunday political talk shows.

One of the first knocks in life occured when I was about 7 years old. My little sister who was 18 months younger, was diagnosed with leukemia. Watching her daughter slowly die for three years destroyed my mother, and she became a drinker, and unfortunately a mean alcoholic. The stress of it all resulted in my parents divorcing when I was around 10.

Sadly my mother's alcoholism worsened and she became very abusive. When I was 14, the courts in Maryland awarded custody to my father who had moved and started a small business in a rural area of North Carolina. Several months after I arrived in NC, all hell broke loose when my Dad was murdered by one of his employees, who also happened to be having an affair with my step mother.

He went to jail and my step mother inherited everything from my Dad, then she wanted to move on. I was given the choice to go back with my alcoholic mother or go out on my own. So at 14 I decided to go out on my own and put myself through high school.

Life was really hard back then. I was homeless for a few months until social security survivor benefits kicked in, and my dad being a veteran, that added a little more. Between that and working part time after school, I was able to rent the worst trailer in the worst trailer park in town.

Soon after the funeral I went back to school. One day I was standing at my locker and overheard two teachers nearby, and it was obvious they were talking about me. One of the teachers predicted I would drop out of school or become a drug addict. The second teacher chimed in and suggested that I'd probably end up in jail.

They did not realize I could hear them, but those words really hurt. However, they had a different effect than one might imagine. I became determined, throughout my life, to prove those teachers wrong.

For the next three and a half years I lived in my crappy trailer, got myself off to school every day, went to work, then did it all over again the next day. I stayed out of trouble, and, believe it or not, I graduated on time and with pretty good grades considering I had no time to study or do homework.

After high school, I went on to serve my country, like so many men in my family before me. I only stayed in the Navy for four years, but I was able to visit many countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. After the Navy, I worked my way through college as a bartender and a security guard.

My first job after college was as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch. After a couple years I was promoted from a cubicle to a real office, high up on the 23rd floor, overlooking the Baltimore Inner Harbor. I sat there at my cherry wood desk, wearing a dark suit, a crisp white shirt, and a power tie.

Then I propped my shiny shoes up on that fancy desk and stared out the giant window as I pondered my journey to this day. I had no idea at that moment what an amazing and wonderful life I would have ahead of me. All I could think about was those two teachers, who predicted my demise so many years ago. Then smiled as I thought, if they could only see me now.

Since then I've been on a board for a university, I worked for an economic think tank, I taught myself how to write computer software in my spare time and built a program that would help the poor find jobs and get off of welfare, then taught myself how to sculpt, started a bronze sculpture business, and now there are more military monuments out there with my name on them than any artist in history.

Not too shabby for a kid from the trailer park, and now I'm running for President of the United States of America. If they could only see me now.