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Moderate Republican Congressperson Randy Feenstra has an official primary opponent in Iowa’s conservative Fourth District. Kevin Virgil has filed the necessary paperwork to run for the Republican nomination and will hold an event Thursday night declaring his candidacy.

Virgil graduated from South O’Brien High School in 1991 and is returning to Iowa after conversations with Congressman Steve King and the reality that nobody else was willing to step up and challenge Feenstra.

Running for Congress wasn’t on Virgil’s radar until he learned about the details involved with the carbon capture pipeline scam planned for Iowa. The project also intends to take private property from Iowans through eminent domain. Virgil learned about the project, wrote an article that was published in The Des Moines Register and appeared on Simon Conway’s radio show.

“I’m a true political outsider,” he said. “I’ve never held office and never even really considered it. But the pipeline issue is so outrageous.”

That issue sparked a conversation with King, who told Virgil conservatives in the district were looking for an alternative to Feenstra.

“Someone who could actually govern like a true conservative,” Virgil said. “Nobody had really stepped up and I just couldn’t believe that given how conservative the community here is. That’s effectively when I decided to run.”

After high school, Virgil attended West Point. He spent five years in the Army, initially with the 82nd Airborne Division and then was selected to join the Ranger Regiment. In 2000 Virgil left to attend business school in Atlanta. He had a summer internship in New York during the summer of 2001 and worked across the street from the World Trade Center. He missed being there during 9-11 by about three weeks. After that, Virgil was presented with an opportunity to join the CIA. He served overseas for a little more than four years before departing in 2008. Since then he has worked in business and consulting.

Now, he’s ready to return home and make a run for Congress.

“I’ve lived in Washington D.C. for quite a few years and become sufficiently jaded with the political ecosystem there and how things are done,” he said. “I’ve just become very disenchanted with how the country is being governed.”

DC is getting wealthier while many small towns are struggling. Virgil added it’s also getting that way in states with the cities near the Capitol doing well while smaller communities are left to struggle.

“It’s very disheartening,” he said. “All of that combined with being awakened to how badly mismanaged the political establishment is here — that’s what drove my decision to run.”

Virgil said he will offer a unique perspective based on his experience. He hopes to apply the lessons he has learned in a way that reflects the “conservative principles” Fourth District voters want to see.

Feenstra, on the other hand, is not voting in the interest of his constituents.

“Putting the pipeline issue aside, he seems to be voting over and over again in the interest of his donors or his political backers,” Virgil said.

Feenstra’s vote in support of extending FISA is just the latest example. Virgil also criticized Feenstra for voting against an effort to prohibit funds from being used for a new FBI headquarters.

“Given what we’ve been seeing from the FBI over the past three years, and certainly going back as far as 30 years ago, we need to be taking a really hard look at the FBI as an organization and whether or not we should reform it or just shut the whole thing down and start over.”

Feenstra’s vote to give $50 million in funding for the UN Global Health Initiative also drew the ire of Virgil.

“That’s something I would never support,” he said. “We’re running a federal budget deficit of nearly $2 trillion. We can’t have people in office that are voting for measures that don’t put America First. I don’t think (Feenstra) has been doing that.”

When it comes to serving in Congress, Virgil said he will utilize three principles. The first is swearing an oath to the Constitution and keeping it.

“There are so many measures and regulations and laws being passed today that have no basis upon our Constitution,” he said. “If anything they are just eroding the rule of law or the rights of individuals. I intend to run and, if elected, represent as a true conservative.”

His second principle is decentralizing government. Virgil said he believes government works best when it is executed at the lowest level possible.

“I’m also a firm believer in the Tenth Amendment,” he said. “In the absence of explicit guidance, governing power should be delegated from the federal government down to the states and, in a lot of cases, from the state down to counties and municipalities. I’m strongly in favor of reducing the role of the federal government in our lives.”

Third, he said he would only speak and act in ways that are true and honest.

“There is so little of that right now,” he said. “One thing I liked about Steve King when he was the representative here was that he may have voted in ways that not all voters here liked, but he wouldn’t hesitate to get right in front of you, nose to nose and tell you exactly why he voted the way he did. That’s something I really admire in him that you don’t see from a lot of politicians today, like Randy Feenstra for example.”

We asked Virgil about moving back to Iowa to run for Congress and what his response to those concerns will be. He said he understands why people might have questions, but the fact is he went to serve his country after high school and took a different path home.

“My roots have always been here,” he said. “I’m a fifth-generation Iowan. I have a lot of deep ties to the community here. I have picked up a lot of lessons and skills and experiences on a fairly unique path over the last 20 or 30 years. I think those will serve me well on this side.”


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