Paris Train Attack Hero Alek Skarlatos Is Now Running for Congress in Oregon
Skarlatos make headlines around the world when he helped detain an armed man five years ago along with two friends, U.S Airman Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, and others.
Now he's looking to be a Republican lawmaker.
In a video announcing his campaign last year, the former Oregon National Guardsman said he was hoping to be elected to represent “the loggers, the veterans, moms, dads and families trying to make ends meet," while working against what he calls "extremes" in Washington, D.C. — referring to Democratic lawmakers.
Skarlatos, 27, is looking to unseat Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio, 73, who has represented the state's 4th Congressional District since 1987.
"I did some research and the more I learned about the [district] and everything that happened to it under the tenure of Peter DeFazio, the angrier I got," Skarlatos told Fox News earlier this year.
The GOP hopeful accused DeFazio of no longer paying attention to rural Oregon issues in the state's southwest corner, outside Portland, citing the lawmaker's voting record alongside progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Elsewhere, Skarlatos called DeFazio "old and stale," while a spokeswoman for the congressman said, "While Alek Skarlatos claims that he could single-handedly restore timber jobs, the reality is that he has no plan and no experience to do so."
DeFazio has also been touting a major infrastructure and transportation bill, saying earlier this year, it was "since probably FDR — probably more ambitious than FDR — because its updated for the 21st century, both to deal with infrastructure jobs but also deal with climate change.”
Skarlatos won the Oregon district's GOP primary with 86 percent of the vote, according to local TV station KGW, and the power of his celebrity has not gone unnoticed by local Democrats.
Still, a Republican hasn't represented the district since 1975 and DeFazio won his last election by more than 15 points, even as Trump nearly won the district in 2016.
Skarlatos was hailed a hero after the Paris train attack in 2015 and he received a Soldier’s Medal from President Barack Obama for his part in stopping the attack.
The Oregon native, who also served in Afghanistan, went on to write a book that was adapted into the 2018 Clint Eastwood film The 15:17 to Paris, in which Skarlatos and his friends played themselves.
“I’m such a huge Clint Eastwood fan. I’ve seen all of his movies growing up,” he told PEOPLE at Spike TV’s Guys Choice Awards in early 2016. “Actually meeting him in person, having him give us the award. Then we talked with him for like 10 minutes afterwards. It was one of the coolest experiences that has happened to us so far.”
After returning to the U.S., Skarlatos toured the country as a public speaker and made an appearance on Dancing With the Stars in 2015.
According to The Oregonian, Skarlatos ran for a seat on the Douglas County Board of Commissioners in 2018 but lost.