INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Jackson County native and U.S. Army veteran Aaron McMullen is running for state representative for Missouri’s new 20th House District on a pro-military and pro-freedom platform.
“I want to stand as a firewall between anyone or any organization that wants to take away your freedom,” McMullen told The Heartlander. “With the mandates and everything going on, I think now more than ever we need to have good candidates on every level, all the way from city council to federal.”
McMullen, alongside several thousand other Americans, joined the military shortly after the catastrophic Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. After leaving the Army, McMullen still felt compelled to serve his country however he could, so he began working as a contract specialist for the federal government.
Unfortunately, as he continued his work for the federal government, McMullen noticed an alarming influx of “woke” ideology and overbearing “political correctness” getting introduced, which he said made him question the value of the work he was doing.
“It got really bad. It was almost like they just didn’t care anymore,” McMullen said of his colleagues prioritizing political correctness over their fundamental duties. “When all of that started happening, I didn’t feel like I was making a difference anymore, so that’s one of the big things that drove me to actually run [for office].”
Leaving the federal government in 2020 still with a desire to serve his country, McMullen began working with Catholic churches and charities to give aid to homeless veterans. In this work, he discovered several needed improvements within the Veterans Affairs Department, which has since turned into one of his top priorities if elected.
According to McMullen, members of the National Guard have “absolutely no resources available to them” and are unable to receive veterans’ benefits if they do not get deployed by order of the United States president.
McMullen said that while many Guard members have been deployed by order of the governor for a variety of reasons, he said that doesn’t qualify them for benefits because it must be done by the president – which is something he passionately hopes to change.
Other priorities for McMullen include making sure youth sports are separated on the basis of biological sex, increasing transparency of local school boards and banning critical race theory from being taught in schools.
Since starting his campaign in January, McMullen said he has seen a seismic increase in involvement in local political clubs and groups over the last few months because of the state of the country and the issues at hand.
“Every one of the groups or clubs that I’ve gone to, I’ve seen them double and triple in size just in the last few months. Almost all of my friends and fellow church members are out right now supporting the truckers, which is fantastic,” he said, referring to the Freedom Convoy.
The veteran believes these issues are the reason why so many people who never were involved before are getting involved in political discussion and discourse.
“It’s encouraging because you see these people who have never been involved, but they’re getting involved to stand up for what they believe in,” he said. “It really makes you optimistic about the future of America considering all of the low points we’ve gone through in the last few years.
“This is real grassroot politics. There’s nothing astroturf about this.”