Eugene Vindman, a former colonel in the United States Army, announced via a press release on Nov.16, his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District.
Vindman, who worked as a senior ethics official in the White House during the Trump administration, filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission after Rep. Abigail Spanberger announced her run for governor of Virginia.
The 7th congressional district includes the counties of Orange, Culpeper, Spotsylvania, Greene, Madison, Caroline, King George, Stafford, the eastern half of Prince William and a portion of Albemarle.
“Abigail Spanberger served our district with integrity and passion, and I hope to follow her example,” said Vindman. “These are serious times that demand serious leadership. Families are struggling to pay for gas, groceries and housing, while Republicans in Congress fight among themselves. They have no interest in governing. America’s enemies relish in their dysfunction and the divisions they sew.”
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Vindman came to national attention when he and his brother, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, became whistleblowers on a call made by then-President Donald Trump to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on July 25, 2019.
According to the call, Trump threatened to withhold U.S. military aid to the eastern European country unless Zelenskyy investigated his political rival, President Joe Biden.
The report resulted in the first impeachment for Trump.
“Soldiers are trained to run towards fire, no matter the personal cost,” said Vindman. “That’s why I’m running for Congress, to defend our nation against the clear and present danger of Donald Trump and the 147 members of Congress who voted to overthrow the will of the American people. We need leaders with honesty, experience and judgment.”
According to his campaign website, Vindman has been endorsed by Congressman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and by the VoteVets organization.
Vindman was born to a Jewish family in Soviet Ukraine during the height of the Cold War. Along with his brother and father, he fled the Soviet Union after the death of his mother from cancer. After a six-month journey, the family arrived in Brooklyn, New York, on Christmas Eve 1979, with $759. Vindman’s father earned $20 a day moving furniture while teaching himself English.
Vindman served in the Army for 25 years as a paratrooper, infantryman and JAG Corps attorney. In 2018, he was assigned to the National Security Council in the White House, where he became the senior ethics official.
During his Army career, Vindman earned numerous awards and decorations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, six Meritorious Service Medals, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Army Commendation Medals and three Army Achievement Medals. He also earned the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Air Assault Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
Vindman graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received a Master of Science degree from Central Michigan University in General Administration, a Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law and a Masters in Letters from the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School. Vindman and his wife, Cindy, live in Dale City and have two children, Max and Madi.
“I want America to remain the land of opportunity, a refuge for families like mine, where hard work makes a difference, truth prevails, rights are protected, and we are all free to be who we are and pursue our dreams,” said Vindman.
“I want the next generation to have all the opportunities Cindy and I had, beginning with good, safe schools, preparing them for jobs in a flourishing economy.”
Vindman is the first democratic candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the seat, according to the Virginia Public Access Project’s website. Five Republican candidates have filed to run in the district: Derrick Anderson, Craig Ennis, Cameron Hamilton, Bill Moher and Jonathon Paul Myers.