Longtime Minneapolis police officer and Iraq War veteran Chris Kelley announced this week that he would challenge Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in 2020.
Kelley, a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and 20-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, ran as a Republican in a 2016 Senate bid, but after failing to gain the party’s endorsement, he is running as an independent in 2020.
“What I’m hoping to achieve is maybe bridging the gap between the parties and get some legislation done,” he said. “I want to be able to work with both sides.”
Kelley, 49, told Fox News on Friday that Omar’s controversial comments about the Sept. 11 attacks — she said in March that on 9/11, “some people did something” — motivated him to launch his campaign.
“That statement was a slap in the face to first responders and everyone who died on that horrible day,” he said. “I said to myself that I could either sit and complain about it or actually try and do something about it by running.”
Kelley said that Omar is “more concerned about her celebrity” status and “not really focusing” on the 5th Congressional District that she represents, while issues such as the opioid crisis and homelessness aren’t addressed.
“These are things I want to bring to the forefront,” he said. “These are things we need to deal with, and our current congresswoman is not doing her job. That is the concern.”
Kelley said he supports a secure border but added that he “would also like to see a pathway to citizenship for those under DACA,” Fox News reports. He also strives to boost Medicare, ensure access to private health insurance and set term limits on members of Congress.
“I think we owe it to our constituents, if elected, to listen to their problems and work on solutions and make things better for the district,” he told Fox News.