Alek Skarlatos, one of three Americans who stopped a terrorist attack aboard a Paris-bound train in 2015, is running for Congress to turn the decades-long blue-held 4th district of Oregon red.
In a recent interview with Fox News, 27-year-old Skarlatos shared that his pursuit of politics began with a conversation with his state senator on a plane to D.C. The two found they were of like mind on political matters, and the senator encouraged Skarlatos to consider political involvement himself.
As he began to research, he found that his district – a southwestern district made up of Oregon coastal cities – has been sending the same man to Congress for over 33 years and yet remains the “poorest congressional district in the state.”
Representative Peter DeFazio was first elected to Congress in 1987, and he has held the seat ever since. Skarlatos told Fox News that in that time, the harvest of timber (an important industry for the district’s economy) has decreased, negatively impacting the unemployment and homelessness rates. DeFazio has also been a very progressive member of Congress, co-sponsoring the Green New Deal and, according to Skarlatos, voting with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “96% of the time.”
“He’s not from New York, Seattle, San Francisco,” Skarlatos said. “He’s from rural Oregon. He just doesn’t represent the district anymore.”
Skarlatos served for five years in the National Guard, completed a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan, and became known worldwide for his heroic actions to stop a terrorist attack aboard the Thalys train during a European vacation in August 2015. For his actions aboard that train, he has received the United States’ Soldier’s Medal, the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and the medal of the City of Arras, France.
“We’re running on things that most people agree with,” he told Fox News, “the kind of, I wouldn’t say centrist issues, but the common sense issues that most everybody can get behind.”
A large part of his plan for the district is a restoration of responsible timber management to promote healthy forests, prevent the alarming wildfires that have plagued west coast summers, and to bring back jobs and revenue to coastal Oregon.
Skarlatos also supports the Second Amendment, President Trump’s plan to secure the border and end sanctuary cities, a free market healthcare system, and vouchers that give veterans freedom of choice in their healthcare.
He has been endorsed by several Oregon mayors, as well as well-known US Congressional members such as Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Tom Cotton, and Representative Dan Crenshaw.
“Oregon is burning, I will put out the Flames,” Skarlatos wrote in a Twitter post, releasing a campaign ad on September 8th.
He called out his opponent for living on a yacht in DC while his district suffers, and stated that it’s time to send a fighter to Congress.