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'15:17 to Paris' hero, Roseburg native announces run for Congress

Alek Skarlatos made headlines when he and several other men stopped an attempted terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris.

Posted: Aug 15, 2019 2:40 PM
Updated: Aug 15, 2019 3:38 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. — A Roseburg man who has been hailed as a hero and starred in a Clint Eastwood film based on his story now says that he will run for U.S. Congress in 2020.

Alek Skarlatos is a former member of the Oregon National Guard. In August of 2015, Skarlatos and two other men stopped a gunman from committing a terrorist attack on a train bound from Amsterdam to Paris, an event that saw all three men hailed as heroes. After Skarlatos wrote a book about the incident, Clint Eastwood directed a film about it that starred Skarlatos.

In 2018, Skarlatos ran for a Douglas County Commissioner slot, but lost to business-owner Tom Kress.

More recently, Skarlatos has championed the "Timber Unity" movement that grew in opposition to House Bill 2020, the cap-and-trade bill that ultimately failed after Republican Senators fled the state to deny a quorum.

"My message has always been about jobs, timber, and education. That won’t change," Skarlatos said in a 2018 post during his bid for commissioner.

In a recent Facebook post, Skarlatos referenced #OR4, indicating that he will be challenging Democrat Peter DeFazio for leadership of Oregon's 4th House district — covering Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane, Linn, and large portions of Benton and Josephine counties.

A video produced by Skarlatos' campaign attacks the "Washington D.C. values epitomized by" Rep. DeFazio, highlighting his support of the Green New Deal and his "F" rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

DeFazio has represented Oregon's 4th district since 1987, and was re-elected in 2018 with 56 percent of the vote over Republican challenger Art Robinson.

"I’m running for Congress because it’s time we have someone who will stand with Southern Oregon," Skarlatos said in a campaign statement. "The loggers, veterans, moms, dads, and families trying to make ends meet. It’s time we have a congressman who will serve you, not the extremists in DC."

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