WASHINGTON -- Kristin Beck, a former Navy SEAL who rose to prominence for speaking out about her experiences as a transgender woman, has filed the papers to launch a primary challenge against Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the second-ranking Democrat in the House.
Beck is a decorated 20-year veteran of the elite unit SEAL Team 6. She filed her papers with the Maryland Board of Elections in Annapolis on Monday, according to the Baltimore Sun, which first reported on her candidacy.
“For the last two or three years I have been watching Congress very closely, and the reality is that the whole process has broken down and our representatives have simply dug in their heels,” Beck told The Huffington Post.
In 2013, Beck published a memoir, Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL's Journey to Coming out Transgender, about her decades-long military career and her experience coming out to her family and fellow members of her combat unit.
"I do not believe a soul has a gender, but my new path is making my soul complete and happy," Beck wrote in her book. "I hope my journey sheds some light on the human experience and most importantly helps heal the 'socio-religious dogma' of a purely binary gender."
Beck was also the subject of a CNN documentary last year that detailed her life after her transition.
Beck said she wants to focus her campaign on jobs, as well as her “three E’s": the environment, education and energy. Beck’s website also takes several shots at Hoyer for being too soft on Wall Street and emphasizes her combat experience.
“[A]s Mitch McConnell put it, too many of our Representatives and Senators have ‘Sharp Elbows and Big Egos,’” Beck said Thursday in an email. “If you have been in the military, you know you have to grown up. You are past the sharp elbows and big egos stage of life."
Beck will have an uphill battle in unseating Hoyer, whose last primary challenger only received 15 percent of the vote.
Beck admitted that Hoyer has done a “good job,” but she believes that the congressman has been in office too long.
“Let’s try to remember that we are hired once every two years by the voters to SERVE THEM in a temp job,” Beck said. “If we fail to serve them well, then we should be replaced.”
Beck also considered running for a vacant Florida House seat last year, but eventually backed out because she did not believe it was the right time to run. She recently moved back to Maryland's 5th Congressional District, where her mother is a longtime resident.
Beck’s campaign infrastructure is still in its infancy. Currently, she said her staff consists solely of volunteers, and her only online presence is a still-incomplete campaign website and a personal Twitter account.
If elected, Beck would be the first transgender member of Congress. As of October, there was only one openly transgender staffer currently working on Capitol Hill.