It took Rep. Joe Heck three months to go from “no” to his announcement Monday that he’s running to replace retiring Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid as U.S. senator from Nevada in 2016. And rather than emphasizing his rank as an Army Reserve brigadier general or his experience on key House defense committees, the Republican eschewed the fire-and-brimstone favored by GOP presidential candidates and instead used his service as a military physician to sell himself to voters as “a healer.”
“Whether it’s serving over 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, working the nightshift as an ER doctor or fighting for Nevadans in Washington, I am proud to have spent my life helping others,” Heck said in a statement sent to Defense One.
Heck has been called to active duty three times over two decades, including the 2008 deployment to Iraq that he highlighted in a video announcing his run. He ran the emergency section of a combat support hospital, handling battlefield trauma cases.
“I know the horrors of war, because I’m a soldier. That’s why I want to keep America strong, so the fight over there doesn’t come over here,” he said in the video. “I understand the sacrifices of our veterans and their families, and that’s why I fight hard every day for our veterans.”