My great-grandfather, Joe Cotta, was born in Portugal, on the island of Terceira. In the 1970s, he started planting vineyards in CA, where I became a 4th generation grape grower. I was raised on my father's 600-acre vineyard near Lodi, CA, where I developed a strong work ethic, values, and a passion for farming. I also met my high school sweetheart, Jenni, and wife of the last 21 years. I received my BS in Plant Science from the California State University, Fresno in 2001 and my MS in Horticulture from the University of California, Davis in 2003. I worked as a viticulturist and grower relations representative in the North Coast of California for an International Wine Company, before spending five years owning and directing a vineyard and consulting business near St. Louis, MO, serving throughout the Mid-West. I moved to the Tri-Cities in 2009 to manage 1000 acres of vineyard, where I have become very active in the wine-growing industry, serving on several committees, with responsibility in political advocacy and union negotiation.
I attend Calvary Chapel Tri-cities where I am involved with several ministries, including 3 years of jail ministry, substance abuse recovery at U-Turn for Christ, orphan and adoption ministry, as well as youth and adult ministries that require weekly or frequent bible teaching. These ministries have allowed me to learn the needs of our families, children, leaders, criminals, and victims of injustice.
Jenni and I have 5 kids ages: 18, 15, 13, 13, and 12. We’re a little weighted on the bottom end, because of a couple of adoptions. I love them dearly, so it has been difficult to watch them struggle, as so many of our kids have, under the poor leadership of our state. My 18-year-old led high school mask protests and publicly spoke against mandates. My 15-year-old left a youth organization he loved, due to mandatory mask requirements. They did this to make a stand for individual liberties and would not stand for policies that were harmful to the people observing them. I am proud of my boys standing for their beliefs, even when it causes them to have to sacrifice.
I am running to restore individual liberties after seeing several neighbors be put on unpaid leave, lose their jobs, or lose medical care, due to standing up for their medical freedom. I was also refused medical treatment for not revealing my vaccination status, but I did not give up my rights, despite the discouragement of losing the care.
I am running for office, because my friends are getting their cars ripped off while others are leaving the state, due to the concern for our safety. The dramatic increase in crime, under the current democratic majority’s leadership, followed by implementation of the restriction of “use of force” and “pursuit” laws are a danger to citizens. Laws must return to safe standards. That is why I believe empowerment must be restored to our law enforcement.
Human suffering and harm in our society are increasing. The stresses on our culture have led to dramatically increased overdose deaths, homicide, car theft, as well as increased adversity to our farmers, small business owners, medical professionals, pastors and teachers. I’m running to restore a system of human dignity and prosperity. I will work hard for district 8 and honor God in my commitment to represent, protect, and empower our community.