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Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar got some bad news this week when a veteran of the Iraq War announced that he would be challenging her ...

Iraq War Veteran Challenges Ilhan Omar For Her Seat

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar got some bad news this week when a veteran of the Iraq War announced that he would be challenging her for her congressional seat.

Fox News reported that Chris Kelley, a police officer in Omar’s district, just announced that he will be challenging her for her seat in the next election. Kelley said that he decided he needed to challenge Omar back in March after she described the September 11 attacks as “some people did something.”

“September 11 was a terrible loss of life, not just for police officers and firefighters and other first responders, but 3,000 people and non-combatants died, and to be dismissive of that was an outrage. I could sit and complain or I could do something about it,” explained Kelley, who is running as an Independent. “And I believe I can be a positive voice in standing up for people in our country, and for our first responders and the people every day on the frontlines.”

During his 27 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves, Kelley has collected eleven military medals. In addition, he has also clocked over 36,000 hours patrolling the Minnesota streets as a 20-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Force. Kelley believes that during Omar’s time in Congress, she has been way more focused on becoming a “celebrity” than she has been on actually helping her district.

"As former military, I am here to serve and not further my status. I want to do a good job for the people I represent and I don’t have a personal agenda,” said Kelley, who deployed once during Operation Desert Storm and twice during Operation Iraqi Freedom. “I’m passionate about service and I just want to be able to continue that.”

Kelley, 49, comes into this race with some political experience, as he campaigned for the Republican Senate endorsement in 2016. Though he was unsuccessful, Kelley said that this experience gave him an idea of what Minnesotans need.

“Immigration is a big issue right now. I believe in having a secure border; if you don’t have a country you don’t have a border and our border agents are doing a great job, but they are being overwhelmed and Congress isn’t giving them the tools they need,” Kelley said. “But I would also like to see a pathway to citizenship for those under DACA; they couldn’t help they were brought here and need a shot to be able to stay here.”

Though he acknowledges that he could not be more different from Omar politically, Kelley has pledged to run a “positive, fact-based campaign” while avoiding attacking his opponent.

“I won’t be bringing in controversy and scandal. I will be bringing firsthand knowledge of the things that I know are going on in the community as an officer. I see a lot every day – the homelessness, the opioid crisis; I want to bring these things to the forefront and put some ideas on the table on how to deal with them,” Kelley said. “I want to do anything I can to make people’s lives better; I just want to sit and listen to people and make some positive change.”