Jesse Colvin, Democratic Candidate U.S. House - District 1
Jesse's family story in Maryland began at the Port of Baltimore in 1899 with his great-great-grandfather. He went right to work at Maryland Steel (later Bethlehem Steel) and put his family on the path towards the American Dream, founding a family business, Baltimore Paint and Color Works. The company provided jobs to over 150 Marylanders and much-needed supplies to the U.S. Navy during WW2. His family never left Maryland. Today, his parents are dedicated public servants working for the state legal system.
Called to Service
Jesse's call to service began on 9/11. He was a senior in high school and met with military recruiters that week – the first of many scares for his parents. Jesse sensed his generation’s challenge lay in the Middle East and sought to understand the region’s languages, cultures, and politics.
In college, Jesse majored in history and minored in Arabic, spending a semester in Egypt. After graduation from Duke University in 2006, he lived in Syria, where he taught English to Iraqi refugees and Syrians hoping to study in American universities. His Iraqi students blamed the U.S. government for the escalating violence in Iraq which cost many of them homes, family members, and – for some – nearly their lives. His students also held a deep respect for the American service members and diplomats they had encountered. Jesse was against the invasion of Iraq and could see from Syria that it was going poorly. But his country needed people to step up and serve. He had a college degree, language skills, and cultural knowledge of the Arab world. Jesse strongly felt the call to serve.
Six decades earlier, Jesse's grandfather, one of his heroes, faced a similar choice. The U.S. Navy offered him two options: obtain a MBA on the Navy’s dime or ship out to the Pacific. Jesse's grandfather knew if he deployed, some other guy – who hadn’t been home in years – could return to his family. Jesse's grandfather didn’t see it as much of a choice. He married his college sweetheart, took a train to San Francisco, and shipped out to the Pacific. Jesse saw his decision in similar terms. Jesse chose to join the Army and serve his country in a time of need.
After the military, Jesse utilized the GI Bill to obtain a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and went about adapting his leadership, analytical, and relationship-building skills to the business sector. For Control Risks Group, Jesse helped clients make more informed decisions before major mergers or acquisitions. For Barclays Capital, Jesse helped the bank root out instances of bank employees engaging in illicit or illegal activity. Most recently at Toffler Associates, a consultancy, Jesse helped business leaders identify opportunities to create new jobs. He also led teams helping government executives identify ways to improve the efficiencies of their organizations.
Jesse is walking away from his private sector experience with one fundamental lesson: leadership matters above all other factors, regardless of a company’s size, industry, or competition.
A New Call to Service
Jesse and his wife, Jordan, welcomed their first child this year. They are an unusual couple in this era of vitriolic partisan politics: Jesse am a Democrat, and Jordan is a Republican.
When it comes to politics, Jordan, a former police officer, and Jesse share similar values and goals and sometimes differ on the path to get there.
Jordan and Jesse know that the values they share in common are far more important than the issues on which they may disagree. They both believe strongly in the value of public service. They believe that nearly everyone is going through a challenge – a recent layoff, a medical condition, a loved one struggling with addiction, so we all have a responsibility to leave our communities better than when we found them. As new parents, they think it is critical to give our child better opportunities than were afforded them. When they look out at today’s political landscape, they don’t see these values represented. For those reasons, Jesse felt called to service for the people of Maryland’s 1st Congressional District.
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