My life has been interesting since before I was even born. So different that I will likely have to prove many things for people to believe I am telling the truth. Being the son of older parents, the youngest of eleven siblings who are significantly older than me, and my father dying when I was 3 months old - these are just a few interesting pieces of how my life began. Leading up to today, where I am crazy enough to think that I have a shot at running for public office. My story isn't a short one and I have been through a lot in my 33 years of life. Some may even say I have, "seen it all." I feel that with my broad and extensive life experiences, I can make a difference for many people from a variety of backgrounds. You will learn that I am not your average "Joe" by any means and there are things about me that are likely to shock many. There are many topics on this website that I have never told anyone and even the people closest to me are in for a shock. Fortunately, I have proof of nearly everything and all of that will be provided in the 'Documents' tab. There is a lot of very personal and sensitive information that I am revealing on this site - so if you're a sensitive person, read with caution.
I was born with the name Joseph Edward Afzal on December 6, 1988, at Washoe Medical Center in Reno, Nevada. I am the second child of Jane Lenore Afzal and the eleventh child of Edward Joseph Leal. I am the baby of my family with my half siblings ranging in age from 19-45 years my senior. The age gap is vindicated by my birth parents being 42 and 64 years of age at the time of my birth. Being the baby of my generation has its challenges due to the wide age gap with all of my siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews. It is difficult to have things in common with people so much older and always feeling like the 'odd duck' when I'm around them. I have never quite fit into the world around me and I have learned to just roll with it and move on. With that said, I don't have much of a relationship with any of my family due to circumstances that prevented me from knowing them throughout my childhood. We are all strangers to each other and it is hard to build a familial bond or relationship with people I barely know and didn't grow up with. I have made numerous efforts, but everyone has their own lives and they are content with the comforts of "the known." Had my life circumstances been different and I wasn't robbed of 10-25 years of time with my family, perhaps things would be different. So different that I likely wouldn't be running for US Congress - but here I am.
How I ended up in Northern Nevada
Just like everything else in my life, the story of how my parents came to Northern Nevada is interesting as well. For whatever reason, it was like I was destined to be born here. Despite my parents arriving in Northern Nevada shortly before my birth, I also had ancestors who were here 142 years prior to my birth. That is another story though. (see Donner Party tab)
Because both of my parents were screw ups, I don't want people thinking that my entire family were screw ups too and that there is some long history there. There isn't. Both of my parents had fairly normal childhoods and my four grandparents were amazing people - or so I've heard. While I've only met my maternal grandmother, Gladys, I can confirm that she was one of my most favorite people in the world. In fact, she is the only blood relative I have ever shared a true familial bond with. As for my other three grandparents - my cousins, aunts, and uncles have all told me how amazing they were. My parents were just the 'bad eggs' of their family and I was their unlucky spawn. Their siblings were all normal (for the most part) and I have a lot of respect for all of my aunts and uncles. I am still not super close to any of them for obvious reasons, but I do think they are good people.
My birth mother, Jane, was the fourth of five children born and raised in Sacramento. Her mother, Gladys, was born and raised on the Round Valley Indian Reservation in Covelo, CA. Jane’s father, Mohamed, came to America when he was 18. He was born in Afghanistan and raised in Pakistan. He was a machinist by trade and worked for the railroad until his retirement. Mohamed and Gladys provided stability for their children and did everything to ensure they had a good childhood. Gladys even went to work for the state of California for 25 years - just so they could provide 'extras' for their kids. Despite saving for their five kids to go to college, Gladys was disappointed when none of them wanted to go. Upon her death, she made me promise that I would be the first in our family to finish college. Education was very important to her and she always wanted to finish but never did. This is a promise that I intend to keep, despite the long trek to get there. I was very close to my grandmother and there has never been anyone who has loved me more than she did.
After Mohamed’s passing in the 1970's, Gladys traveled around the country and in 1982, she decided that Reno was where she would retire and it would become her final home. After two failed marriages, Jane became a Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA) in the late 1970’s. She realized that she couldn't rely on men anymore and would have to take care of herself. In 1985, Jane lost her job in Sacramento. Gladys convinced Jane to take some time off and come to Reno for a couple of weeks to visit. Gladys enjoyed the Cal Neva and took Jane to her first casino when she arrived in Reno. This is where Gladys introduced Jane to a man she knew who was also a 'regular' at the Cal Neva. His name was Edward "Buddy" Leal. Jane ended up staying in Reno and decided not to return to Sacramento as planned. Little did she know, Reno would change her life in more ways than she could have ever imagined. In 1988, she went to the doctor because she hadn’t been feeling well. Much to her surprise, she was four months pregnant. Once told she was unlikely to have any more kids and being 42 years old at the time, this was a complete surprise. She worked at Riverside Hospital in Reno until it closed down and then worked at ManorCare for nearly 30 years prior to her retirement in 2016.
Edward Joseph Leal was the second of four children born to Arthur and Alphonsine “Eva” Leal of Worcester, Massachusetts. Eva’s family immigrated from Montreal Canada in the early 1900’s and settled in Cook County, New Hampshire. Arthur's family came to America from the island of Azores Portugal, settling in Massachusetts in the early 1900’s. According to census records, Arthur and Eva’s parents could only read and write in their native languages, French and Portuguese. Eva was a homemaker while Arthur was one of “the best” carpenters/cabinet makers. They were devout Catholic’s and raised their kids with such values. Eva was considered a “good woman” who went to church every day and didn’t go anywhere without her bible. She was so deeply rooted in her beliefs that she wouldn’t meet any of her grandchildren that came from second marriages or later, unless she had to. She believed in only having one marriage and that was the family she would acknowledge.
Edward was a man of mystery and hard to figure out. He served briefly in the United States Navy and he too was known as one of “the best” carpenters. He apparently designed and built a house in Tahoe during the 1960's. His younger brother, Jimmy, also served and was a purple heart recipient - after getting injured serving during the Korean conflict. Edward had six marriages/relationships that resulted in children. At some point, he left Massachusetts and spent a lot of time in the Los Angeles area - where most of his children were born. There he owned several bars and night clubs. He also owned some sort of tile business with his first wife in Massachusetts. Additionally, he owned several properties around the country, including four in Reno. He was a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas Church in downtown Reno and attended services regularly prior to his death. It is believed he came to Reno around 1982 (possibly the 60's too) because that is when Gladys first came to town and he was already here. According to google, he also owned some sort of marble company in the Los Angeles area with a filing date of 1982 and his mailing address was listed in Reno at that time. This also leads me to believe he came in the early 80’s. Why start another business in the Los Angeles area and then move to Reno? Again, a man of mystery. With all that said, I can only assume that my most recent family settled in Northern Nevada in 1982.
My parents had an ongoing relationship from 1985 until my fathers death in 1989. They met at the Cal Neva through my grandmother and everything happened from there. They were never married, so yes, I am a bastard.
Click through each topic on the left if you want to learn more about me.