Army vet will run as an independent to challenge Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar — and said Friday that her comments about 9/11 prompted his decision.“It was very dismissive and disrespectful,” Chris Kelley told Fox News.“
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,” he added.Omar’s comment that on 9/11, “some people did something” last March sparked widespread outrage and condemnation from President Trump and lawmakers from both parties.
Kelley, 49, also charged that the freshman firebrand was more concerned about her celebrity status than 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,” Kelley told Fox.“I’m passionate about service and I just want to be able to continue that.”But he added that he did not want his campaign to go negative by attacking Omar.“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,” said Kelley, who is seeking the endorsement of the Independence-Alliance Party of Minnesota.“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.”Kelley worked the streets of Minnesota for 20 years, and was deployed once during Operation Desert Storm and twice during Operation Iraqi Freedom during his years in the Army and Army Reserve.The Hibbing native also holds a master’s degree in criminal justice leadership from Concordia University in St. Paul.He could face an uphill effort in Minnesota’s heavily Democratic 5th Congressional District.In the 2018 election, Omar defeated Republican Jennifer Zielinski with 78.2 percent of the vote