A retired Army colonel announced Wednesday that he would seek the Democratic nomination to take on freshman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) in next year’s election.
“The North Country where I grew up was a place where families looked out for each other, kids got a great education and we all believed that, with hard work, a bright future was possible,” retired Col. Mike Derrick said in a statement. “That’s my vision for our future and that’s what I’ll fight for in Congress.”
A 1985 West Point graduate, Derrick spent 28 years in the Army on active duty and reserve forces. He served various tours in South Korea, Germany, Iraq, Hawaii and Colorado.
Before his retirement in 2013, Derrick led a 22-nation missile defense war game for the U.S. Strategic Command. He later advised the State Department on missile defense matters.
At 30, Stefanik is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, an important appointment for the upstate district that is home to Fort Drum, one of the New York’s largest employers.
The base faces an uncertain future as the Army continues to downsize.
Republican leaders have worked to showcase Stefanik since her arrival on Capitol Hill, hoping her age can help the GOP connect with younger voters. She recently chaired a House hearing about “Millennials and the GOP” organized by the Republican Policy Committee, an arm of leadership.