WASHINGTON, District of Columbia — Joe Kent spent more than 20 years as a soldier and Green Beret defending the country, and now, he wants to take the fight to D.C. as a representative for Washington State’s Third Congressional District.
Instead of fighting jihadists who wish to bring America down from outside, he wants to fight the “permanent ruling class” in Washington that is hurting America from within.
He does not just mean Democrats or Republicans in Congress. Indeed, he is running to replace Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), who notoriously voted to impeach former President Trump.
But he also means bureaucrats and other leaders in Washington who are part of a “predatory machine that only benefits the elites.”
He is an unapologetic America First candidate and Trump supporter. He has met with Trump several times — first when his wife was killed fighting for the U.S. in Syria. and many times since, the last time being just weeks ago at Mar-a-Lago.
He believes before the country can move forward, a thorough audit of the vote in 2020 should be done.
Kent was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He signed up for the Army even before 9/11 and has done 11 combat tours in the Middle East.
“All I ever want to do is serve this country, so I got to do just that. I feel very fortunate that I got to serve amongst this generation’s warriors who went forward and fought for almost the last two decades,” he said.
He first intended to continue deploying overseas with the CIA, but all of that changed after the death of his wife, Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent, who herself had also led an esteemed career in special operations. Kent decided to step away from putting himself in physical danger to take care of their two young sons.
One of the most bitter facts he faced was that his wife was killed about a month after Trump had called for U.S. troops to be brought home from Syria — which the D.C. and military establishment fought against.
“Trump tried to get troops out of Syria the first time, and we all saw what happened after that Secretary of Defense Mattis and the rest of the permanent ruling class in the Pentagon and the government turned against President Trump in an effort to keep our troops overseas and deployed,” he said.
But he had already known for a while that the forever wars were not in the country’s best interests anymore. Trump, he said, was “restoring the will of the American people to Washington, DC, and doing the right thing but for the security of our country.”
He planned to work in a second Trump administration, but after the outcome of the 2020 election, with “widespread election irregularities,” and Beutler voting for Trump’s impeachment over the January 6 Capitol breach, he said he wanted to do something.
“That was until the Republican congresswoman who I voted for stabbed us in the back and voted for the impeachment of President Trump,” he said. He said that was when he knew he had to throw his hat in the ring. “She’d always kind of been a very weak Republican, very typical of the establishment. She voted against the construction of the border wall. She voted to keep our troops in Syria, our troops in Afghanistan. She voted for Obamacare, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. So I saw basically our entire country kind of being driven off the cliff by the Democrats, and I wanted to do something.” He added, “And I’ve never been able to ask other people to go fight for me. So throwing my hat in the ring, once more to go serve and take the fight to Congress to restore our country’s freedoms.”
Kent went on to say, “Seeing the totality of the way things went in 2020, the way the Big Tech in the mainstream media and the labor unions all gotten lined up, the way that the permanent ruling class — the same permanent ruling class that had no issue leaving my wife and other Americans overseas for no clear gain — the way they’re continuing to manipulate the American people, the hard-working men and women of this country, the same ruling class that had no issue shipping all of our jobs overseas, killing off the economy, the access to upward mobility for working-class men and women, seeing the totality of that, I decided that I had to get back into the fight.”
“At the end of the day, I have two young sons who lost their mother when they were very, very young and sometime in the near future, I’m going to look them in the eyes and explain to them that this is the country that their mother gave her life for in the state that we’re in right now. I just can’t do that,” he said.
His late wife, Shannon, was killed January 16, 2019, while on a mission in Manbij, Syria. An ISIS member wearing a suicide vest walked into a restaurant and blew himself up as she and her teammates were passing it.
Just a month before, on December 16, 2018, Trump had announced his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.
Several thousand troops were in Syria and Iraq after the Obama administration had deployed troops there in 2015 to prevent ISIS from establishing a caliphate. By December 2017, under the Trump administration, ISIS had lost 95 percent of its territory in Iraq. By December 2018, Trump had announced ISIS was defeated in Syria, too.
The Associated Press explained that after Trump decided to withdraw troops from Syria, it “prompted the resignation of widely respected Defense Secretary Jim Mattis” and “also set off a frantic, four-day scramble to convince the president either to reverse or delay the decision.”
Kent said the lesson for him was that although Trump understood that U.S. forces had achieved their objective, the “permanent ruling class within the National Security establishment” fought it.
“The military industrial complex actually is more powerful than the will of the people. And that’s scary and very dangerous … something that we need to immediately correct for the sake of our Republic,” he said.
He also learned during his time as a soldier that leaders need to stay grounded with people who are actually doing the hard work.
“They become disconnected when they begin driving their own agendas, usually based on their own egos and then worst case, based on their own personal gain,” he said. He added, “We’re not listening to the hard men and women of this country that actually make up the backbone of this nation. So we have to get ground truth. You always need to be connected with the people that are the ones that are producing things for the nation, that are fighting the nation’s wars, and that are really the backbone of this country. So leadership to me,” he said, “is being able to be connected with the logger. In my district, the entrepreneur in my district–but then, being able to come here to Washington, DC, and understanding how to help them secure their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and not have the government become this predatory machine that only benefits the elites.”
Kent said his opponent, Beutler, is one of those leaders disconnected from the Americans they represent. “She spent her entire adult — like we’re the same age — in government as an elected official. And so after a certain point in time, they just become part of this system that exists to continue to get reelected. And so they know how to get the big donor money, and, therefore, they don’t need to listen to the smaller people [who] are really the backbone of our entire nation,” he asserted.
He continued, “And I talk about production in the timber industry all the time because if we don’t have a country that actually produces things anymore, our debt-based economy is going to crumble when the Chinese decided to stop buying off our debut and we’re in this conundrum. We don’t produce anything anymore, and that’s absolutely killed off our working class. It’s starting to go after our middle class, and it’s a crisis that we need to take a wartime footing to correct.”
Kent said his top priority is to adjudicate the 2020 election to restore trust in the voting system.
“We are going to have all kinds of people turn to other means other than the ballot box to have their voices in their grievances,” he said. “I’ve been in countries where that’s the case, and it’s very scary. So we need to fully adjudicate the election 2020.”
“And then from there, we need to take on our national debt and our inability to produce things in this country as if it’s a war because if we don’t get that back on track and we don’t start bringing production back, we will be taken down by the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.
To Kent, America First means making sure every American can make an honest living.
“We have to get economy back online. We have to secure our borders. We have to make sure that our legal immigration isn’t taken away, jobs from American citizens. So our economy right now is basically running on all debt, but then, also the scam that Americans can’t get good manufacturing jobs,” he said.
“We need to return to a society where a hard-working individual can graduate high school, get a job in an industry, and they can support a family off of that. That’s critical not only for a culture, but it’s critical for our nation’s security,” he said. “We have to strengthen our economy and strengthen our country first, and that’s what America First is to me. And I want to bring that to Washington, DC.”