‘I felt the call to serve’: Republican candidate says George Santos scandals inspired him to launch campaign for Queens/Long Island congressional seat

Photo by Kellen Curry’s campaign

After announcing his intention last week to challenge embattled New York Congressman George Santos for the Republican nomination of New York’s 3rd District, Kellen Curry spoke with QNS about what inspired him to run for the congressional seat.

Additionally, Curry went into detail on what he’d like to accomplish at a local and national level if he ends up winning the nomination and general election.

While Curry, 37,  grew up in Midwest City, Oklahoma, he moved to New York in 2019, shortly after completing eight years on active duty for the U.S. Air Force during the war in Afghanistan. While residing in Long Island City, Curry has worked for J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Banking Division.

Curry credits his background of public service for helping to inspire him to run for office. In addition to his own military experience, Curry’s father was a naval officer and his mother was a civil servant.

According to Curry, he was inspired to run for office shortly after the New York Times story broke last December that revealed some of the lies that Santos told about his education and work history throughout his successful congressional campaign. Since then, many more lies from Santos have been unearthed.

“I felt the call to serve again when I realized that this district is led by George Santos, the most ineffective member of Congress,” Curry said. “I think the people deserve better. It’s what I gathered, not just from those in the district, but around the country. It’s busy days, but it feels like the right decision to give back in public service.”

Curry emphasized that his campaign is meant to provide people with an alternative to Santos. He wants to restore honest leadership to the district.

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Jan. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

While Curry acknowledged not having much of a background when it comes to politics, he feels his military experience and understanding of the Defense Industrial Base Sector could go a long way. He spent time as a procurement officer, responsible for procuring cyber security weapon systems for the Air Force.

While Curry said his campaign has not yet gone into specifics on policies if elected, he did say much of his stance would reflect his background and prior experience, including his military service for the United States Air Force and work with J.P. Morgan. He expressed a desire to serve on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, as he feels his firsthand experience in that field is valuable. He also mentioned that his background at J.P. Morgan would make him an ideal candidate for the Financial Services Committee.

According to Curry, the United States faces a number of challenges as well as opportunities in regards to military defense. He believes, with the country’s current tensions with global superpowers like China and Russia, now more than ever it is important for those in office to take these situations seriously.

One of Curry’s priorities on a local level is tackling affordability, especially on Long Island. He also wants to bring more federal resources back to the district. Additionally, he feels more needs to be done when it comes to constituency services.

“[I have] a wide range of experience outside of politics,” Curry said. “But it’s experience that I think will serve me well in Congress. [My campaign’s main message to voters] first and foremost is restoring honest leadership. Quite frankly, nothing happens without getting back to a leadership for this district that we can actually believe in.”

Curry said he believes that Santos’ lies, his refusal to step down and the fact that he doesn’t serve on any committees have all led him to become the most ineffective member of Congress. According to Curry, Santos has become so toxic that most members of Congress do not want to work or be associated with him.

Curry also highlighted the importance of being engaged with candidates, as well. He noted that there wasn’t enough vetting done on Santos by those who donated to his campaign. According to Curry, it is incumbent on the public to take real a interest interest in how the race for New York’s 3rd Congressional District plays out in 2024.

“I think it really is time for the citizens of this district to really dig in in a way that they haven’t done before,” Curry said. “I welcome the scrutiny and I welcome the transparency. In a post-Santos environment, I think there’s going to be more scrutiny and more research on these candidates, as it should.”

As a means of helping to prevent the election of another candidate who lied about their education and work history, as Santos did, Curry voiced his support for Democratic Congressman Ritchie Torres’ proposed bill that would require those running for office to disclose key parts of their personal biography under oath.

“No matter who wins this race, it should be incumbent upon [our members of Congress] to champion a higher bar of ethics in D.C. for our members,” Curry said. “I think they should go to Congress with that being one of their priorities considering the state of our leadership right now. If I have the privilege of serving in Congress, that will certainly be a top priority of mine.”