I was inspired to compose this disclosure by Tim Carney. There are many similarities in style and structure throughout this disclosure, and I borrowed some of my language directly from him. Thanks for the inspiration, Tim.
Last updated March 22, 2017.
Here’s what I believe:
I believe people must choose to be good. I believe the world is a dangerous, oftentimes scary place—and I also believe that over the course of human existence, violence has declined. I believe the biggest challenges facing our species are climate change, the threat of global, antibiotic-resistant pandemics, the proliferation of unsecured WMD, and our lack of knowledge about what threats lurk in the cosmos. I firmly believe that climate change is a clear and present danger, and I also understand the moral case for fossil fuels. I believe that private, for-profit entities have a substantial role to play in solving these challenges, and I also believe governments have an important role to play as well.
I describe myself most often as a liberal or a progressive, though occasionally a heterodox one. I support free speech rights while doing my best to respect the identities of others. I generally prefer market-based solutions over non-market-based solutions. I believe capitalism has been a net-positive over the course of its existence and also that we need an effective regulatory system to reign in its excesses. I spend a fair bit of time wondering about how to square liberal democracy with capitalism, and I think our ongoing debates about corporate personhood, campaign finance, and free speech protections are evidence suggesting our society hasn’t quite figured this one out yet.
Since early 2011, nearly all of my public advocacy has concerned the advancement and protection of rights for LGBTQ people and their families. I have also engaged in political advocacy for Democratic candidates at the local, state, and federal level.
I am a Unitarian Universalist, and I am dating a non-practicing Jew. I sporadically attend UU services, and I do my best to follow the Golden Rule.
You can find most of my most recent writing over here and via social media.
I am currently a graduate student at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The program is fully funded, and I am living on campus.
My most recent full-time job was working as the director of operations for my mother, Dr. Terry Wahls. Since about 2007, she has been researching, developing, and personally using a self-designed protocol to combat her multiple sclerosis symptoms. Over the last several years, she has spoken and written about her protocol across the world. As her director of operations, I aimed to take logistical work off her plate, oversaw the development of information products about her protocol, planned her annual seminar for August 2016, and assisted her with scheduling and preparing her for various media appearances.
Before that, I worked full time for Scouts for Equality, a 501(c)3 non-profit I co-founded and led from June 2012 – November 2015. (There was a brief, two-month gap over the summer of 2014 when I was an intern at the White House.) I led and directed fundraising during my tenure, and our Form 990s are available online. Today, I am a member of the Board of Directors, where I serve as Treasurer, and I have both fiduciary responsibility and a give/get obligation for the organization.
In the years following my speech to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee, I drew a majority of my income from paid speaking events, overwhelmingly on college campuses. Most of those funds are now in retirement investment accounts, and the rest was split between paying for college and donations to 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, including Scouts for Equality before we secured longer-term funding. I do substantially less speaking today, and I aim to split my speaking about 50/50 between paid (honorarium provided) and pro-bono (no honorarium provided) events.
Here, to the best of my knowledge, are all the other organizations that have paid me or provided me paid travel or lodging in the past twelve months or with which I currently have an agreement to do work:
Penguin Random House, author. My book My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family continues to earn small amounts of royalties. The imprint that published My Two Moms, Gotham, was acquired by its sister imprint, Avery.
Harvard University — I participated in a conversation about “allyship” with Harvard Lecturer Tim McCarthy and co-facilitated a workshop at the John F. Kennedy School of Government on the use of personal narrative and public speaking.
General Electric — General Electric brought me to its Cincinnati office to speak to its LGBT employee resources group during LGBT History Month (October) in 2016. I know nothing of General Electric’s work beyond what is publicly available.
South Dakota State University — I delivered my standard college lecture “What Makes a Family.”
University of Iowa — I spoke at a coference being held by the the College of Education on LGBTQ identities.
Hillary for America — I spoke at a number of Hillary for America events as a campaign surrogate. My expenses were covered.
Investments, Assets, and Liabilities Disclosure
I do not own securities in any individual companies, industries, or commodities. The entirety of my financial investment is in Vanguard Target Date Funds (i.e. an index fund of index funds). I was gifted a few shares of Coca-Cola a long time ago that are sitting in a Fidelity account. I also own about one tenth of my family’s farm in northeastern Iowa.
I have a disability insurance policy with a local insurance brokerage that was recently acquired by my local community credit union, at which I currently do the vast majority of my banking.
I received less than $500 in interest income this year from my checking and savings accounts.
At this time, I have no mortgage. I have a car loan with approximately $2,000 outstanding.
My girlfriend, Chloe Angyal, is a senior front page editor at the Huffington Post.
My mother Jackie works for the Iowa City Veterans Affairs hospital. My mother Terry has retired from the VA and now earns her primary income from writing and speaking about her diet and lifestyle protocol.
My sister is a freelance artist living in Nashville, TN.
My lone surviving grandparent is retired and draws her primary income from Social Security.