I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as Christopher Ubaldo Borgia. Both of my parents are immigrants; my paternal side Italian, my maternal side English. I attended Florida Public Schools and received my bachelor's degree from the University of Florida in Political Science.
From the ages of 12 to 18 I was a Magician at kids' birthday parties, a stock boy at a weight loss center, a salesman at a high volume fresh squeezed lemonade stand, and a butchers apprentice at an Italian market where I spent most of my time making sausages. From the ages of 18 to 21, I waited tables.
During much of my late teens and early twenties I was motivated by the pursuit of creative ambitions: making music with technology, starting a local magazine publication, and acting. At the age of 24 I returned to college.
My passion for government and public policy got its start while watching news coverage from the 2004 congressional election cycle, and shortly after I switched my degree from psychology to political science. After graduation I wanted to supplement what I learned in the classroom with lessons from the real world, so I planned a trip. In 2006 I visited each of the original 13 colonies that ratified the Constitution, traveling to each state in the same order they joined the union, talking to locals about what they thought of their government and visiting the legislative bodies at each state capital.
While traveling between the 10th and 11th states (Virginia and New York respectively) I stopped at the Arlington National Cemetery. While walking by rows and rows of tombstones I took a minute to reflect on the path that led me to that moment. I was 27 years old, I had enjoyed life, benefited from liberty, and vigorously pursued happiness, but I had never given back to my country. A few minutes later I was on the phone with an Army recruiter. A few weeks later I was at Basic Training in Fort Benning Georgia.
Fast forward a bit and I am a Soldier in Iraq, operating out of Camp Liberty just outside of Baghdad. I am the Officer in Charge of my battalion's communication assets. I loved the job, my soldiers, the mission; but my superiors were sending me on a new mission with new soldiers. I was ordered to serve as a Platoon Leader in the middle of Baghdad, at a much smaller base they called Forward Operating Base Justice.
Taking command of a platoon during a time of war is an opportunity coveted by most lieutenants, so it wasn't long before I was there, at FOB Justice, meeting my new Soldiers and taking on my new mission. But this story does not end with any explosions or gunfire; there was no drama, no death, no birth, no epiphany - only a piece of paper.
The piece of paper had been stapled to my bedroom door, printed on it was an anonymous quote that read: "When the people fear their government there is tyranny; When the government fears its people there is liberty"
I read that quote every night, wondering who wrote it, why it was posted on that door, what it was trying to say. I figured it must have been written by one of the Soldiers who had occupied the room before me. Weeks went by and my curiosity peaked, so I got online to do a search and found out I was wrong. The quote was actually attributed to Thomas Jefferson, one of our nation's founding fathers.
When the people fear their government there is tyranny; When the government fears its people there is liberty. Thomas Jefferson
Feeling underwhelmed with my ability to recall famous quotes from past leaders, I sought out more notable quotes. And that's where my motivation for public service originated. I was inspired by the quotes of men. Men who lead this nation through good times and bad. These men were not gods. Their wisdom did not come from legend. Their guidance did not come from myth. They were just men; men who stood up and served their country when it needed it most.
Filled with an elevated sense of possibility and purpose, and inspired by the movement for liberty, prosperity and justice, I knew where my future passion would be invested.