180516-nrr-skarlatosannounce-01

Alek Skarlatos, right, speaks with former Douglas County Commissioner Mike Winters at the Douglas County Republican Party headquarters Tuesday night. Earlier in the evening, Skarlatos announced his intent to run for the Douglas County Commissioner seat recently vacated by Gary Leif.

Alek Skarlatos has put his hat in the ring for the Douglas County commissioner seat recently vacated by Gary Leif.

Skarlatos made the announcement Tuesday evening at Douglas County Republican Party headquarters in downtown Roseburg.

The run for office is the latest adventure for Skarlatos, a hometown hero known for his role in taking down a would-be terrorist on a Paris-bound train in 2015.

Skarlatos went on to portray himself in a Clint Eastwood movie about the event, called “The 15:17 to Paris.”

Skarlatos and two of his friends took action after a gunman armed with a Russian-made AK-47, a handgun and a box cutter emerged from a train bathroom, then fired shots on the train, which was headed to Paris from Amsterdam.

Since then, Skarlatos has received multiple medals, been awarded the French Legion of Honor and taken third place on the ABC program “Dancing with the Stars.”

Skarlatos is a Roseburg High School graduate and a former Roseburg Costco employee. He spent five years as an Oregon Army National Guardsman with Charlie Company.

Since leaving the military in November, he’s been touring the country, making a living in public speaking. He recently bought a house just outside of Roseburg.

“I’ve traveled all over the world, and there’s no place I’d rather live than Douglas County, honestly,” he said.

He said he’s been interested in politics since he was a kid and he’s optimistic about the opportunity he hopes to have serving as a commissioner.

In an interview prior to the announcement, Skarlatos told The News-Review if elected, he would work to create more jobs in Douglas County. He’d particularly be interested in drawing in industrial jobs for skilled trade workers.

“Really I think that jobs bring in taxes, and if we can get people jobs that would make the whole community better off,” he said.

He also sees the county commissioner role as a chance to stand up for values he believes in, such as the Second Amendment.

Although he doesn’t have management experience, Skarlatos said his time in the military provided him with valuable experience he would use as a county commissioner.

“I know how structure works and I know how each person plays a part to make an organization function, and I know what causes organizations like that to break down, and I know what makes them successful,” he said. “I hope to make it more successful than not, using my experience in the military.”

Skarlatos, who is 25, said he thinks millennials get a bad rap, but “somebody is going to have to step up and represent the next generation in Douglas County. I think the political climate has led a lot of younger people to become interested in politics, myself included. I just hope to move Douglas County in a better direction.”

Leif was recently sworn in as the representative for state House District 2. The date for the election of his permanent replacement has not yet been announced, but will likely be in November.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

React to this story:

30
10
3
6
4

Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(11) comments

CannaKing

If you want another know nothing "YES" man... that will do nothing but nod his head while backstopping whatever Chris boice and time freeman conjure up, vote for alex. I for one am looking for a GENERAL to run our county who has a mind/head for themselves, that will stand up to the tyranny that has prevailed in this county for WAY TOO LONG... not a E-5 that KNOWS NOTHING but how to follow orders and dance pretty. LOL... whats more is I took that same train from paris to amsterdam when I was in my mid twenties.... and short of looking for a party, wanted to do nothing but smoke weed and hang out in the red light district. For some reason I dont think the trip Alex took on the train from paris to amsterdam he was going to visit the Ann Frank house, do you? Just sayin'

CannaKing

If you want another no nothing "YES" man... that will do nothing but stroke the proverbial D of Tim and Chris (the other 2 commissioners) vote for alex. I for one am looking for a GENERAL to run our county who has a mind/head for themselves, that will stand up to the tyranny that has prevailed in this county for WAY TOO LONG... not a E-5 that KNOWS NOTHING but how to follow orders and dance pretty. LOL... whats more is I took that same train from paris to amsterdam when I was in my mid twenties.... and short of looking for a party, wanted to do nothing but smoke weed and hang out in the red light district. For some reason I dont think the trip Alex took on the train from paris to amsterdam he was going to visit the Ann Frank house, do you? Just sayin'

Suzan Mesik

Yet another dude with no political or leadership or management experience wants to govern our County for us. Really? It's not even funny any more. Please, Alek, go home and stop acting like you are the Savior of the Universe. I for one will not worship you.

ralpho

Alex is a shoo in for Douglas County. An actor who loves guns and is a friend of the great Obama hater Clint Eastwood cannot lose in this gun -worshiping pro KKK county.

bohica48

Pro KKK like the Democrats? Like President Woodrow Wilson? For someone you've NEVER MET you form opinions very FAST! I enjoy shooting. Let me take you to the range sometime, and teach you how to handle a firearm properly.
IF the day comes you need to defend yourself, or a nation like Alex, or your family you'll know how. I assume you're interested in that.

ralpho

Nothing wrong with target practicing. Hunting for sport, however, is cruel. Sport hunters should not be allowed to have contact with children. I say this as the father of three children. I helped feed myself all through college by hunting rabbits and quail with a shotgun. Wilson was not a friend of the KKK. The statement that he was is fake news and slander. Check it out. By the way, I served four years in the Vietnam War. I was drafted. I have owned a !976 Ruger Mini 14 for at least thirty years. I keep it for protection because I live in the middle of a forest in a remote area. I don't keep the gun to shoot animals. I keep it to protect myself from crazy people. I have fired a Thompson Sub-Machine gun and a Browning Automatic Rifle as part of my miltary training and also completed a brief course in snipering. So there.

bohica48

Criticise gun ownership on one hand, and admit you own one on the other. Such a hypocrite. As far as your military service....Well all I have is YOUR word on that. Wilson WAS an overt racist. Have you seen that GREAT picture taken in the 20's with a HUGE parade of hooded KKK members marching down Pennsylvania Ave in FRONT of the WH. Stay DEEP in the woods. Good place for you.

Rebecky

This is ridiculous! I don't usually comment but I am so tired of hearing about Alex. There are THOUSANDS of veterans living among us who have acted more courageously than he has. The difference between them and Alex is that they just go about their life, they are not seeking attention. THOSE men and women are true hometown heros!!!!

Watch the movie...by his own account he FOLLOWED his friends. He did not engage the Paris train attacker first. And secondly he admits he lacks leadership/management experience, but his military experience trumps that. Nope! He was in the Air National Guard, the reserves. There is a HUGE difference between the reserves and active duty. The reserves play military a couple if days a month, while active duty military live it 365 days a year.

I know I am not the only way thinking all of this, but I am the only saying it because he has put in a platform for little reason. Come on Roseburgers have some common sense here, please!

bohica48

I partially agree with you. If the French chose to make heroes out of those kids I'm ok with that. I can't put myself on that train, and assume to know what it felt like. I applaud them for doing something when many would do nothing. I do believe it's gone too far certainly not worthy of a movie. It's not dishonorable to join the National Guard, but it doesn't make a person Audie Murphy, either. If those kids had caught a different train, or been late, or took a bus no one would know who they are. Fate had a hand in all this. Frankly, I wish Alex would stay OUT of politics. Stay OUT of Hollywood, and resume his job at COSTCO until such time he got hired as a Police Officer which was his original choice. Going back to school wouldn't hurt at all. If Alex is depending on his notoriety to qualify him as a County Commissioner I won't vote for him. If you REALLY want to serve your community, and be a genuine hero put on that badge.

Rebecky

Thanks for the response bohica48; you raise many valid points!

While I do agree it is honorable to join the Air National Guard; I also know it is very different than being active duty. My husband recently retired from active duty, which included six deployments to the Middle East. I only know a very small amount of what happened during his deployments, but I have no doubt he did some pretty courageous acts as well. The point I am trying to make is that career military members, like my husband and countless others, who do not walk around telling their story to anyone who will listen. They are humble! I wish Alex behaving the same...

I think Dancing with the Stars, the book, the movie, and now County Commissioner is nuts! Stop looking for notoriety and just be happy what you have accomplished in life.

bohica48

Thinking back to my 20's I don't know HOW I would be able to digest that much attention. I served my country in a very special, and unnoticed fashion. I (we) preferred it that way. It makes walking the streets and public places SO much easier. Alex will find his future in his own way and time.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.