Gary grew up in Billerica, Massachusetts, the third of seven children. His father was an iron worker and his mother a nurse. Gary attended Billerica public schools, and then earned a BA in physics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, and a Ph.D. in experimental particle physics from the University of Rochester. Later he would be struck by the similarities between the fields of experimental particle physics and climate science.
After graduating with his Ph.D., Gary returned to Billerica to work as a software developer at a robotics company. He left after two years and spent the next decade and a half working for a local defense contractor, where he transitioned from software development to project management. Beginning in 1999, he spent ten years doing project management in a variety of companies developing computing systems and software for businesses, including as cofounder and Vice President of Engineering of a startup developing computers for Internet Service Providers.
In 2000, an offhand comment by a neighbor led Gary to develop an interest in climate change. Ten years later, after being laid off during the Great Recession and with the first of his three children about to enter college, Gary was anxious to find a new job, but he also saw an opportunity to get involved in fighting climate change by switching careers to work in clean energy. He discovered, however, that clean energy jobs were few and far between. Growth in the sector was anemic, which made Gary wonder why more investment wasn’t being directed towards critically needed solutions for conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy.
The answer, he found, was basic economics: new clean energy services and products were and still are more expensive than fossil fuels, but only because fossil fuel prices do not factor in the long-run environmental and economic costs of climate change. If fossil fuel prices reflected true costs, clean energy would be more cost competitive and investors would flock to help create the Google, Apple, or Amazon of the clean energy economy. Correcting the prices of fossil fuels to reflect their damaging impacts requires legislators to stand up to powerful special interest groups; and today, too few of our elected officials are willing to take this step.
Soon after learning this lesson in economics, Gary joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), where he got involved in the effort to correct this fundamental market failure. During his seven years volunteering with CCL, Gary founded and led a Boston CCL chapter and served as Northeast Regional Coordinator and Massachusetts State Coordinator for the organization, all while working full-time as a software project manager at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. In 2013, Gary also cofounded and chaired the Committee for a Green Economy, a ballot initiative committee that sought to implement a statewide price on greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts.
In the last decade Gary has traveled to Capitol Hill nine times to lobby for fair, simple, and transparent legislation to fix the underlying market failure that is preventing a transition to a clean energy economy. He has witnessed, firsthand, the foot dragging by Congress on the urgent issue of climate change. Since Congress won’t act, Gary has decided to seek change through the ballot box, running for Congress to help create an America with a clean energy economy for the sake of his children and future generations.