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Chuck Williams, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, announced Wednesday that he is running as a Republican for Congress next year, intending to challenge Rep. Jim Matheson.
However, 2010 Census results gave Utah a new, fourth U.S. House seat for elections next year, and new boundaries for congressional districts will not be drawn until later this year. Matheson's spokeswoman, Alyson Heyrend, said on Wednesday that he is waiting to see what redrawn districts look like before he decides whether to run for re-election or seek a statewide office.
But Williams, 66, a former combat pilot in Vietnam and Iraq who won the Distinguished Flying Cross, has Matheson in his sights.
Williams said he will run for Congress even if he and Matheson end up in different districts.
Williams now lives in Heber City, and is president of Stone-Williams Associates, a logistics consulting firm. He is a native of San Diego. He twice ran for Congress in California in the 1990s, but failed to gain the GOP nomination.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, appointed Williams to a military advisory committee last year to advise him on military and foreign affairs. Williams also was the national director of operations and logistics for Alan Keyes' 2000 presidential campaign. He is the former chairman of the San Bernardino County Republican Party.
Williams describes himself as a Reagan conservative who is unabashedly partisan and Republican. "Blame for the mess our country is in lies at the door of the Obama administration, the Democrats, liberals and decades of assaults on our Constitution, our liberty, the free market system, our military, and the traditional American family," he said.
Williams said in an interview that "this nation is at war on three levels," economically, morally and militarily, "and I can't sit aside anymore and watch what's going on. It's time to get involved."
He said that his positions include action to "protect human life," "preserve the traditional family," "protect your right to bear arms," "stand against government intrusion in our lives, like Obamacare," "rein in profligate government spending," "develop Utah's energy resources" and "protect states' rights."
Williams served 21 years in the Air Force, retiring in 1988. He was then a San Bernardino County deputy sheriff for 10 years. He later became the assistant deputy under secretary of Defense for installations, and served in other positions for the Defense Department. He said he also was the "lead Pentagon official responsible for all U.S. military installations worldwide."
He was a project director for Freedom's Flame, a foundation that raised money for two 9/11 memorials. He also helped organize and is now a senior adviser to the board of Save Our Soldiers Foundation, a group that helps soldiers reintegrate into society as they recover from wounds and trauma in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.