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Who is Richard Ojeda?

Take a closer look at the Democratic presidential candidate.
Credit: Getty Images
WV State Senator Richard Ojeda addresses campaign supporters during his first campaign event of his presidential run on November 19, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (John Sommers II/Getty Images)

Editor's note: Ojeda announced on January 25, 2019, that he was suspending his campaign.

Richard Ojeda

Born: September 25, 1970

Birthplace: Rochester, Minnesota

Age on Inauguration Day: 50

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website: voteojeda.com

Education: West Virginia State University (Bachelor’s degree); Webster University (MBA)

Professions: U.S. Army Major (Ret.); High school ROTC instructor

Public office: Elected to West Virginia state Senate in 2016 (but he announced in January that he would resign to focus on presidential run); Lost U.S. House race in West Virginia’s 3rd District in 2018.

Personal: Married to Kelly Ann Ojeda, and father of two.

Life and career highlights

  • Last name is pronounced oh-JED-ah.
  • Served 24 years in the U.S. Army, including two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Awarded two bronze stars.
  • Co-founded a nonprofit group that gave shoe vouchers to schoolchildren and provided meals to the poor and elderly.
  • Was the political face of West Virginia’s first-ever statewide teacher’s strike in 2018.
  • Successfully sponsored legislation to make medical marijuana legal in West Virginia.
  • Self-described coal industry supporter but critical of coal companies for not paying that wealth to the community.
  • Unlike most Democrats, Ojeda does not support universal background checks for buying a gun.
  • Voted for Donald Trump in 2016, but he says he now regrets it.
  • Interviewed for the 2018 Michael Moore documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9.” He said some children in Logan County, WV, where he grew up “have it worse than the kids I saw in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Sources: Associated PressBallotpediaPoliticoWest Virginia LegislatureNew York TimesThe Intercept

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