This is who we are
BY JANICE GREEN
Sometimes it is good to get more than one perspective on a person running for Congress because the whole truth is more complicated and less misleading than a few words or phrases in the daily news. References to our son Rick in terms of wealth or funding are shallow descriptions of the man.
It might be helpful to the voters of the 3rd Congressional District to know who we are, and mostly, who Rick is. We are the Greens. We are a military family, and our children are, proudly, military brats. Granted, the dictionary definition of “brat” is not complimentary, but in combination with “military” it’s meaning has evolved and ameliorated to largely connote a group of kids who, despite relatively frequent uprooting, moving, relocation, adaptation, readjustment, and many other little inherent problems of every kind, manage to cope, grow up, and become better, stronger people, not in spite of the life, but because of it.
Rick enjoyed most of the experiences his childhood gave him and has also always enjoyed learning about his grandfathers’ service. Merle Green, Sr., served aboard the USS Augusta in the North Atlantic in World War II. George A. Lawrence was shot down in a B-17 over Northern Italy and spent thirteen months, including his twenty-first birthday in Stalag Luft 1, Barth, Germany. Rick’s support of veterans and military families is unwavering. He also understands and appreciates that all members of military families also serve, each in his or her own way.
During childhood and early youth, Rick attended public schools in California, Delaware, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts. He has lived in Pepperell longer than any other place and it is his home. He moved about every three years, with a few short-term stays thrown in, and adjusted to the transitions well. Probably more than anything else, he enjoyed sports while growing up. Sports taught him life lessons including both leadership and teamwork. Whenever he was the new kid, he also repeatedly learned that if you really want something, often you must work really hard.
Each branch of the military is a microcosm unto itself. Our children met many different kids from many different places. They also experienced different attitudes toward home, church, school, and life in general. Continual exposure to this diversity was a positive force in their realization that it’s not the differences in people that are usually important. It is what we have in common that matters most.
During Rick’s teenage years, one of the most memorable long-term projects in his life revolved around a solid, drivable, 1965 Pontiac GTO sedan/post coupe that his dad found on the lemon lot while visiting Pease Air Force Base circa 1986. Muscle car mania was not yet extreme, so the price was reasonable, and Merle thought it would be a good together project for him and Rick. I think this experience, along with constant exposure to do-it-yourself car improvements, helped sow the seed that germinated into 1A Auto and eventually the inimitable 1A Auto how-to videos. Rick can still trouble shoot his own car and perform his own repairs if time and accessibility allow. That was the original plan of 1A Auto, to help develop personal skill in car repair. Everyone has so much latent talent and ability to be developed. Doing car repairs is just one tiny example. Some people are better prepared than others, some more aware of their options than others, some more affected by the interference of every day responsibilities than others, but none incapable of developing latent abilities. People are empowered by knowing how much they themselves can do, and this is an aspect of life that needs more focus rather than encouraging taxpayer dependence.
Thinking about Rick’s College years and shortly thereafter, it is difficult not to marvel at the energy he had then. He played sports, not without casualty, worked up to twenty hours a week when he was able, and graduated from Cornell with his class and a degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He came home to Pepperell after graduation, but soon decided to try his luck in the Washington, DC area where he already had friends, and the job economy, at that time, was better. He was willing to do anything until the “right” job came along. Ironically, his first job was valet parking for a popular restaurant frequented by members of the US Congress. Eventually, he got a contract job with OSC (Orbital Sciences Corporation), one of the small aerospace companies that, without public acclaim, do valuable behind the scenes work for NASA. There he worked on both the Taurus and Pegasus rockets and he enjoyed developing a database that tracked aspects of rocket performance. He was in touch with NASA employees regularly, and when a position related to his experience came open, he applied, interviewed, and got the job.
Eventually, he wanted his own business, so he pursued an MBA at The Darden School, University of Virginia. After graduation, the 1A Auto plan emerged while Rick did consulting by day and launched eBay auction items far into the night. The first year Rick went to work full-time at the business, he took no salary, lived on money he had saved, and stayed in a loft room, formerly his bedroom, above the garage he had helped his dad build.
1A Auto has grown fantastically, and, yes, Rick, with his brother, did build that. The vision and the plan were his. Together they have displayed an understanding of economics, perseverance, a strong work ethic, and have laid out good guidelines for their staff. Rick visits small businesses along the campaign trail because he loves seeing them prosper and, of course, because many of them are restaurants that serve great food! If not over taxed and over regulated, small businesses create 60% to 70% percent of new jobs in a good economy. When businesses are created, grow, and create jobs, a larger tax base is created. Under repressive taxing and regulating, these processes are reversed, and the opposite occurs unless there is great demand for the products or services available. He understands small businesses and what, legislative or otherwise, helps or hurts them and their customers/clients.
Rick’s interest in and concern for small business influenced him to co-found the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, perhaps the premiere government watchdog in the state. Though he no longer leads the organization, he still believes in the principles of fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability in government. He has, thus, long worked to increase economic opportunity and solve fiscal issues for our state’s citizens, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.
Rick has gone, even swum, to great lengths to emphasize his concerns about infrastructure. Of course, everyone is concerned about outdated and failing bridges and roads, but Rick is well qualified to help speed the processes of reparation or restoration. He understands any project from both an engineering and a financial perspective, be an informed part of the discussion, and simultaneously work to move the project along.
The opioid crisis is certainly a serious situation, perhaps the most serious situation that we face today. Rick is fully aware of it, having lost employees to it. In Congress, he will appoint a senior staffer to coordinate federal, state, and local efforts with community-based organizations focused on treatment, prevention, and education. Further, he will work for co-ordination of federal, state, and local law enforcement to stem opioid distribution.
As far as immigration is concerned, Rick has repeatedly supported enforcing the rule of law. Open borders aid drug traffickers and human traffickers of every kind. Sanctuary cities hide criminal elements which endanger both legal immigrants and citizens. Our son-in-law is a naturalized citizen who paid a hefty fee for the paperwork and followed the rules. He is a fine young man who has made a valuable contribution to both our family and business. It is interesting to note that neither he nor any of his very capable friends who have become citizens have registered as Democrats. If asked to explain why simply and quickly, their answer would probably go something like this, “We grew up in the old Soviet Union. We know what it is like when government controls everything.”
Anyone who has gone to school with Rick or known him for very long knows that he has a good mind, a good heart, common sense, and the drive to work hard for what he cares about. He has stated that he will not take a government pension, not write a book, and never become a lobbyist because he believes he should be a public servant who is not seeking a pathway to wealth. If wealth is measured by family and friends who support him, then Rick is already a wealthy man. Any other wealth depends upon perspective. He lives in a nice neighborhood in Pepperell, and he drives a used car. He has never bought a new one. He does not carry rolls of cash in his pockets, has never wasted money, and he does not have millions in the bank. 1A Auto is worth a few million, but he is not the only owner, and any assets are not easily liquefiable. Anyone with minimal business sense knows that much small business profit must stay in the business to spur growth and create jobs.
I have written this message with input from my husband and family. We count our three children among our greatest achievements. They have been assets to us, and Rick can be and wants to be an asset to you too. Please consider going Green with us on November 6, 2018.