Alumnus sets sights on Nevada congressional seat

Correction appended
Alumnus Chris Edwards is looking for a ticket back to D.C. this fall.

Edwards, who earned a master’s in public administration from GW in 1996, entered the Republican primary race in January for a seat to represent Nevada’s 1st Congressional District, which spans most of Las Vegas, in the House of Representatives.

The former Navy officer plans to focus on jobs and a troubled housing market to woo voters.

“The country has a whole lot of problems that need to be resolved, and people are looking for someone to resolve them. I plan on using my knowledge about the government to do just that,” Edwards said.

Las Vegas has an unemployment rate of 12.7 percent, according to December 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Edwards said lowering unemployment would be a priority.

“There has to be a much greater appreciation in government for business and what it takes for businesses to succeed, and excessive rules and regulations are not the way for businesses to succeed,” he said.

Edwards is vying against Miguel Rodrigues, a school principal, for the Republican ticket in a blue-leaning district. Ruben Kihuen, a state senator in Nevada, is running for the Democratic slot against Dana Titus, who represented Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District from 2009 to 2011.

Edwards hopes his campaign will resonate with fiscally conscious voters, veterans, those concerned with national debt and “most folks under water,” as well as with Hispanics.

After completing his master’s, Edwards worked for the Pentagon’s general counsel, as well as D.C.’s Department of Parks and Recreation, where he served as chief of staff before shifting to the Office of Contracting and Procurement. He was recalled to active duty in Bahrain in 2003 and Iraq 2005.

“GW was obviously great for learning public administration and was the foundation for my work with the Air Force secretariat,” Edwards said. “And it enhanced my interest in current events and public policy.”

The candidate also worked as a military contractor at an expeditionary camp in the Horn of Africa and also spent time in the Middle East and Europe.

Kathryn Newcomer, director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration and Edwards’ former statistics professor, called Edwards “oriented to achieve.” She added that he is a “generous donor” to the program.

“I would have never thought that he would be involved in politics when he was a student, being in the military and all,” Newcomer said. “But recently, in the last few years, he’s shared some really creative ideas for reform, and he’s been really involved in government operations abroad and I kind of thought, aha, this is really coming together.”

This article was updated on Feb. 4, 2012 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Chris Edwards was recalled to active duty in Iraq in 2003 and planned a military base in the Horn of Africa. In fact, he was recalled to Bahrain and spent time at a base in the Middle East.

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