Michigan state Sen. Tom Barrett on Monday announced his campaign for the US House, a bid that could see him potentially challenge Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin.
The Michigan Republican vowed in a Facebook video announcing his campaign to push back against the Biden administration’s federal vaccine mandate.
“I’ve spent my entire career fighting for freedom in the Army and as a state legislator, yet Joe Biden wants to discard me because I oppose his coercive forced vaccination mandate,” he said. “I believe individuals should be able to freely give their consent, without fear of retaliation or coercion before receiving the Covid vaccine.”
Michigan’s new congressional map has not yet been finalized by the state’s redistricting commission.
Slotkin, who served three tours in Iraq alongside the US military as a CIA analyst before being elected to Congress to represent Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, has held the seat since 2019. The district backed former President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. Slotkin won reelection last year by 3.6 points.
In late August, the Pentagon mandated that US military service members get fully vaccinated against Covid-19. President Joe Biden announced vaccine rules in September requiring all federal contractors to be vaccinated and private businesses with 100 or more employees to vaccinate their workforce or test employees weekly. Those rules take effect in January. Republicans have fought the mandates in courts across the nation, and used the controversy as a means to energize their base.
Barrett, an Army veteran, spoke about serving for 21 years, including as a helicopter pilot in combat zones, in his announcement video. He cited a “collapse of leadership in the White House” in relation to Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan as one of his reasons for running.
Barrett also said he is running to put “parents back in charge of their children’s education,” which was key Republican message during the recent gubernatorial race in Virginia in which the GOP prevailed.
Barrett currently represents Michigan’s 24th district in the state Senate. He serves as chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and as a member of the committees on Appropriations; Energy and Technology; Families, Seniors, and Veterans; Insurance and Banking; and Judiciary and Public Safety, according to his website. He previously served two terms as a state representative.
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