Safford city councilmember and firefighter Chris Taylor is joining the race for Congress in AZD1. Submitted photo

Republican Chris Taylor formally announced his campaign for U.S. Congress in Arizona’s District 1. He is an Army veteran, a city councilmember and a firefighter in Safford.

“Over the last 90 days I have traveled our entire district, meeting with thousands of regular hard-working Americans,” Taylor said. “My objective was to listen to the people’s concerns and ideas while gauging support and viability for my run for Congress. The response has been overwhelmingly positive; over and over again I’ve heard that my message, my personal story of service and redemption, and my unique qualifications resonate with a wide swath of voters.”

Taylor’s campaign has taken in almost $16,700. He joins Republican Tiffany Shedd of Casa Grande in a primary battle to face Democrat Tom O’Halleran in 2020. Shedd also ran in 2018. She has raised $66,000.

Eva Putsova, a Democrat from Flagstaff, is O’Halleran’s only primary opponent so far. She has raised $52,000 compared to O’Halleran’s $562,000.

Taylor’s family has lived in Safford for six generations. He served in combat with special operations forces in Afghanistan as psychological warfare team leader.

After returning home and suffering from PTSD, he was forced to wait months to see a VA doctor, and relapsed to a dependency on prescribed opioids. He sought out a program that worked and battled his way to recovery. Taylor launched a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans cope with life after combat.

He and his wife Sarah have two young children. He said he wants to heal the divide in the country and do things differently while being a voice for the average citizens.

“The American dream is still alive and well,” Taylor said. “No matter where you come from or what you have been through, no matter what mistakes you have made and trials you have endured. If you are dedicated, passionate, hard-working and you refuse to give up, you can accomplish anything that your heart desires.”