Suzanne Patrick, who served as deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial policy under President George W. Bush, launched her campaign for Virginia's veteran-heavy 2nd Congressional District on Tuesday.
Painting herself as a "centrist Democrat," the former Navy commander will take on the two-term Republican incumbent, Scott Rigell, next year. Veterans make up 17 percent of the contested district's population -- the highest concentration of U.S. war veterans in the country. Patrick, who comes from a military family, has made sure to emphasize this point in her criticism of Rigell and her insistence that she will be a "bipartisan voice."
"As a fourth-generation military officer, I've dedicated my entire career to service -- under Democrats and Republicans alike," she said in a statement Tuesday.
Although Rigell's official stance on military and veterans' issues is that he supports increased funding for the military and expanded resources for returning soldiers, Patrick's main criticism of him so far focuses on his treatment of the district's military population.
"Congressman Rigell's voting record and his partisanship, especially on the sequester, has made life tougher for the military, families and seniors," she said in her statement.