Meet Gabriel

I’m Gabriel Cornejo. That’s Core-nay-ho. I’m running for Congress. It’s a weird thing to say, let alone type out. I never thought I’d be doing this, partly because that’s not a thing most people think about. More than that, I’d prefer living an uncomplicated life. I’m running because our ship is sinking, and I’d rather stop the people drilling the holes causing the leak than enjoy the music on the way down.

It started with a manger. No, I wasn’t born in one, but I was raised to believe in someone that was. This person spoke of love. Spoke of caring for others. That influenced my early views on life. I was born August 14, 1982, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and raised in a non-traditional household, with mom and grandparents trading off guard duties over me.

With those expressions of love, it would only be a matter of time before I’d be empowered to do the same.

Imagine being in fifth grade, one of your friends is diagnosed with cancer and would lose their hair. That was my first opportunity to demonstrate care for another through action. I and 13 other classmates and teacher would shave our heads to let our friend know he wasn’t alone.

We were dubbed the “Bald Eagles”. The national spotlight came once our story was told. “Good Morning America” and “People” magazine came calling. News publications and celebrities did, too.  Not because we did some complicated world-changing thing, like, say, I don't know curing cancer. But because we did the loving thing and put our friend first.

I’m proud to have been amongst such amazing human beings. Yes, my friend fully recovered and has kids now with his loving wife. I think about it now as an adult. Similar in age to his parents, I try to comprehend what his parent must have been through. Your child’s health is always a concern, but our healthcare system, I'm sure, only complicated matters.

I experienced firsthand how complicated our healthcare system was in 2011 while driving from Orange County to San Diego to help my family move. I never made it. I was in a rollover car accident in my convertible and had to be life-flighted to the hospital. That brush with my own mortality had me evaluate my prior pursuits. At that time, I was leading the nation's largest smart meter project for the nation's largest electric company, with 300 electricians in a union environment. I had just won an award for project of the year, and yet, reflecting back, I wasn't fulfilled. I learned we're not promised tomorrow and what to prioritize today: family, friends, and community.

At that time, I knew creating a company with a platform to take on Amazon would be the best way I could commit my actions of love and provide for communities everywhere. Like other monopolies, I felt that Amazon would become a giant company that would kill the free market, eliminating mom-and-pop shops across our nation. I knew the eventuality of such concentration of market power would lead to further consolidation of power in the form of bribery of our legislators and a threat to our democracy.

The pandemic accelerated this market share and power consolidation despite my best efforts prior. Still, I was set on leveling the playing field for a fair marketplace; I, along with 50 volunteers, set off to create a non-profit delivery system for local retailers and food banks. Again, knowing if we didn't change the trajectories of our markets, the result would be where we are today. Our political system is bought and paid for; WE, the average American, are dealing with the result of more friction that comes with such a tilted playing field.

It's my dream for our nation to have the conditions for everyone to find fulfillment. When most of us spend our time just keeping our heads above water, how can people have a chance to live the life they want? In my mind, prioritizing profits over people is NOT love.

Let me conclude with this. Love was given to me and motivates me. These stories reflect the love that drives me, but with your help, hopefully, it won’t be my greatest demonstration of love.

Renovate America

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