Published: Fri, February 15, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

NASA astronaut Mark Kelly launches Senate campaign

NASA astronaut Mark Kelly launches Senate campaign

Mark Kelly, the acclaimed astronaut who became a political activist after his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was almost assassinated eight years ago, has announced plans to run as a Democrat for the late John McCain's former U.S. Senate seat.

McSally is a former Republican congresswoman who was appointed to McCain's seat after she narrowly lost to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema last November in the race for outgoing Republican Jeff Flake's seat.

But Mark Kelly's life and career changed after his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, a Congresswoman from what was then Arizona's 8th district, was nearly assassinated on January 8, 2011 during a meeting with her constituents. She and her husband have become strong advocates of gun control in recent years after she was in a 2011 assassination attempt in which six other people were killed.

"We've seen this retreat from science and data and facts and if we don't take these issues seriously, we can't solve these problems", he said in the video.

President Donald Trump won Arizona in the 2016 election, but USA media say the state will be a key battleground in the 2020 elections. Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, who represents parts of Phoenix, has been considering a run.

Kelly, a naval aviator who spent more than 54 days in space for NASA and flew 39 combats mission in "Operation Desert Storm" over Iraq and Kuwait, said he turned to politics after his wife, former Rep.

The announcement also specifies the platform Kelly will run on, with major tenets of that platform including affordable healthcare, the stagnation of wages, job growth and climate change.

"What I learned from my wife is how you use policy to improve people's lives", Kelly said in his campaign announcement video posted on Twitter. He flew on four shuttle missions, including STS-108 in 2001 and STS-121 in 2006 as pilot. Gabby Giffords, D-Arizona, who survived a shooting in 2011. John McCain who died August 25, 2018, at the age of 81. The shooting at a Giffords meet-and-greet event in Tucson left six dead and 13 injured.

McSally was appointed to the seat by Gov. Doug Ducey late previous year and it is unclear if she will face a competitive primary challenger as she did in 2018. After the election, she was appointed to fill McCain's seat, which had been temporarily occupied by Jon Kyl. The victor will have to run again for a full six-year term in 2022.

Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly announced that he is running for US Senate in Arizona.

"The thing I have to do for my wife is to be able to think clearly and make good decisions..."

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