Richard Ojeda's Profile
West Virginia 3rd Congressional District
Richard Ojeda is retired Army engineer who spent several years leading a combat security team in Iraq. He is a loud, proud West Virginian running to represent that state’s 3rd Congressional District. People’s House Project proudly endorses him as a candidate meeting our principles for election to Congress. He:
• Has first-person experience with the economic crisis
• Directly represents America’s diverse working class
• Is more connected to his community than to elites
• Will not make a good villain for the other side to campaign against
• Holds Progressive economic priorities central to his campaign
We believe Richard Ojeda will be an invaluable addition to the House of Representatives, a passionate and energetic advocate for the interests of the people of West Virginia, and working people everywhere.
I grew up here. I’ve been to 47 countries in the Army, and no place has been more at home for me and my family than Logan County, West Virginia. My thoughts were, when I retired, we’d return here and enjoy the life I had enjoyed growing up.
The hard part for me was seeing how bad things have gotten. What we found was poverty and unemployment, and that people around here are just willing to accept it. At first you think they’re lazy, then you realize it’s from years of being beat down, not getting anything.
In the military, that’s not how we do things. For me to get involved in everyday things here was something I had to do. I couldn’t just sit. I’m not someone to go off into the sunset. I started a charity to buy shoes for kids, but you can only go so far before you look to the elected officials, and they shut you down because they’re fine with the way things are. They benefit from it. That’s how I got into politics, to show them what “right” looks like.
The 3rd district in southern West Virginia is pretty much coal country. It’s an area where the majority of people live at or below the poverty line. It’s an area that has been overlooked. It’s like West Virginia is not a state, it’s a colony. People come in here and take our resources, and the people of West Virginia have not benefitted at all.
Coal has developed a bad rap, but until we get something else, that’s all we have. Everyone who works here and has a decent job is in some way, shape, or form in the coal industry. I would love to see other opportunities come to our area, but until they do, coal is what feeds our families.
The steel that built this country came from our coal. It’s disproportionately people from this part of the country who fight our wars. For as much as West Virginia has done for this country, we would like someone to invest in us. We have a phenomenal workforce, people with transferrable skills like welders and mechanics and machinists. These are people who work hard. We can make cars. We can build solar panels. We can do anything, given the opportunity.
I’m sickened by what I see in government. I don’t like people to call themselves leaders when they’re not. We need someone in Washington DC who is willing to say we deserve better. We need someone who will go up there and start raising their voice.
I will get the people behind me. The working-class people know what I’m trying to do. This is a grassroots campaign. I don’t have a single paid staff. I’ve got 600 people volunteering on his campaign to put someone in office to get up there and do something for the people of West Virginia.