Name: James S. Abrenio
Birthplace and/or where you grew up: Newark, New Jersey
Where do you currently call home? Fairfax, Virginia
Occupation: Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Attorney
Favorite part about the job: I have the privilege in stepping in front of a jury to advocate for people that need to have their voices heard in some of the most stressful, oftentimes, tragic times in their lives. Our court systems, because they are made up of humans, are flawed institutions that need zealous advocates to fight for them at every turn. There is no better feeling than obtaining the right result for a client and knowing that you've had an impact on their life.
Your first job ever: I was a cashier at Food Lion. It was a great experience because it forced me out of my shell at a young age to talk to people. It also taught me how physically and emotionally taxing service work is on a day to day level. While my job now is really hard, I've never been as stressed as seeing 15 people in the check out line angry because you're having difficulty finding the code for Fuji Apples.
Favorite Book/Currently Reading: My favorite book is Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It's the story of how he built Nike into a huge corporation. He writes with surprisingly beautiful prose, and it's really just an interesting read for entrepreneurs. I'm currently reading 1776 by David McCullough. It's the tale of the formation of America by our historical giants. Really interesting read.
Comfort Food: Five Guys!
What’s playing in your car right now? Justin Beiber, of course.
Addicted to podcasts? What are the top three you listen to? Dax Shepard, Arm Chair Expert. Marc Maron, WTF. Pod Save America.
Next journey? I'm on it! Learning about myself as well as Virginia politics.
Favorite Virginia destination? Old Town, Alexandria.
First political memory? I remember my parents discussing Bob Dole. I can't remember exactly what the context was, but I just remember after that always being interested in Social Justice.
Best advice you ever received? When all seems lost, ask yourself, "what's the worst thing that can happen?"
If you could have dinner with anyone currently living, who would it be and why? Andrew Yang. I think he's got really interesting ideas, and he's a fellow Asian American whom I look up to for the attention he's brought to our community.
One thing most people would be surprised to learn about you? I've got a great jump shot.
Ambition, political or otherwise? I'd like to help change Virginia's Criminal Justice System.
Favorite part about the PLP so far? PLP has brought me into contact with a really diverse set of people with different interests, talents, political views, and personalities. It's allowed me to create substantive relationships with people that are truly invested in their communities and inspire me to be a better person. It's allowed me to have a better understanding of really smart people from the "other side" of the aisle to help me understand more about my own views, and why I believe what I believe. In some instances, I've changed my beliefs because of perspectives I've not thought about. In other instances, I've maintained my beliefs but have been able to put a face to the other side of the argument. PLP has reinforced the truth that most people want the same thing - to provide for their families and live full, productive lives. We may differ about how we get there, but we all have good intentions at heart. It's also allowed me to see first hand the diversity of Virginia, economically, socially, and culturally. It's made me appreciate living in this great Commonwealth, and hopeful that, despite these very trying times, we have a lot of great things headed our way. I'd highly recommend for anyone looking to make a difference here in Virginia to look into PLP.