Fresh off an unsuccessful run for Congress, Roseburg’s Alek Skarlatos has taken up a new cause.

The Freedom Foundation announced Thursday that Skarlatos has joined its organization and will be working out of its Oregon office.

The Freedom Foundation is a nonprofit think tank that promotes conservative causes such as free markets and limited government. Among its causes are battles against COVID-19 business shutdowns and government unions.

“We’re not only honored to have a man with Alek’s courage and character representing the Freedom Foundation, we’re also excited to be working with someone with his energy and ideas. We think Alek is a perfect fit for us,” Freedom Foundation National Director Aaron Withe said in a post on the organization’s website.

Skarlatos ran a hard-fought campaign against longtime incumbent Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, in November. During the campaign, Skarlatos garnered endorsements from conservative leaders such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and received donations from Republicans around the country.

Skarlatos is perhaps best known for his role in thwarting a terrorist attempt on a Paris-bound train in 2015.

Skarlatos and two of his friends took action after a gunman armed with an 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.” He played himself in a Clint Eastwood movie about the train incident called “The 15:17 to Paris.”

Prior to his unsuccessful run for Congress in November, Skarlatos also made an unsuccessful run for Douglas County commissioner in 2018.

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

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(27) comments


Get a real job, Alek. Get a real job. Or go to school and get an education. Pay your dues. Like the rest of us. Quit trying to be a "cool operator."

You remind me of a business school graduate who wants to be a CEO straight out of business school without working his way up..


"'We think Alek is a perfect fit for us,' Freedom Foundation National Director Aaron Withe said in a post on the organization’s website."

I think he is a perfect fit for them, as well.

Anti-worker (Skarlatos appears to be as averse to work as he is to education), science-denying, bigoted, QAnon-adjacent, etc.

A perfect fit, indeed.

"The anti-worker “Freedom” Foundation’s so-called National Director Aaron Withe — who got his job because he’s best friends with the CEO’s son and then failed up — has been absurdly appointed to the Oregon Advisory Committee on Civil Rights.

His organization has ties to white supremacists and anti-LGBTQ organizations, and has promoted known bigots like Laura Ingraham, Dinesh D’Souza and Mike Huckabee. The NWAP circulated the following memo to other members of the committee and those overseeing the process of selecting members, and will continue educating the public about their contributions to the mainstreaming of white nationalism."


Good to know. Thanks, Joe.


The headline has Alek's name spelled incorrectly.


Donald Trump. Kevin McCarthy. Rep Marjorie Taylor Green. State Sen. Dallas Heard. The Oregon GOP.

This is the face of the republican party. Sedition and lies. That is what they stand for.

So Alek, is this where you want to place your bet?


This guy Alek? You want to hang your hat with this guy?


melrosereader: yep. GQP

Marine Vet

Never Forget, Ted Cruz Gave Good Ole Boy Alex A LOT of Money to Run for Office here. A LOT of MONEY.


Does this kid have any experience at all to do this job or be in Congress? Looks like they’re grooming & paying a pretty face to be a career politician. Some real work experience would be the best thing for him


It's the GOP and, well, you know!!!


melrosereader: exactly. Republicans are interested in winning elections; they care nothing for governance, which would require knowledge, competence, and integrity.


Here is The Guardian: "In the internal battle between conservatives and extremists, the extremists appear to be winning. The state party in Oregon recently condemned Liz Cheney and nine other House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol insurrection. It cited a groundless conspiracy theory that the riot was a “false flag” operation staged to discredit the president’s supporters."

Marine Vet

Never Forget, Ted Cruz Gave Good Ole Boy Alex A LOT of Money to Run for Office here. A LOT of MONEY.


Here's the plan. Give Skarlatos an income, all the while expecting that redistricting will move Benton and possibly Lane counties into a different district.

Are we going to be stuck with anti-government (well anti-people, pro-corporation) politicians forever?


melrosereader: Well, we need to consider more than merely anti-people, pro-corporation politicians. We also need to consider the poor, innocent virus, and the politicians who promote it.

Also, E coli.

Will no one think of the spirochetes?


If Skarlatos runs again, does he have to believe that Jews attacked California with a space laser?


Eesh. I wonder if the House minority leaders plopped her into the Education Committee thinking someone might teach her why lightning strikes during a wildfire. We can hope, but I have the notion it was done as just another petty middle finger snub to the House majority.


Appears as though Alek has chosen to get some practice thinking. The Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank with offices in Washington, Oregon, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania, states on their website - "Our mission is to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government". It's funded by "private donors and groups such as the Koch family foundations Sarah Scaife Foundation, Donors Trust, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation and the State Policy Network."

Accountable government to the Freedom Foundation means they want to break up government unions as they offer no Opt Out option for government employees who don't want to be in a union. Some unions with Opt Out options have required workers to pay a 'fair share', a smaller fee than union dues, to the union and I suppose this may be considered unfair to those who want nothing to do with their workplace union. But the opted out worker does benefit from any positive changes to their union negotiated contract with the employer.

My experience with a union has been watching the employer's well paid, hired labor lawyer, in his Armani suit, literally jump around and scream at union negotiators in what equated to a 10 cent an hour raise. I have no respect for employers with no inclination toward investing in their workers. But I do feel that Alek needs practice thinking.


He could also use a little practice doing real work. And he might also go to school.

Marine Vet

01 06 2021. Never Forget Who there are.

Marine Vet

Just another GRIFT in Progress. He will keep Asking for Money to keep his Lifestyle. He has No Higher Education & what he did. There are HUNDREDS of Other Veterans who have Done as much if Not More. He think's he's Special somehow.?. He Blindly Followed the Orange Dude as was the same for Every GOP Elected Officials in this Entire County. #NEVERFORGET110621


Heh. Freedom Foundation opposes unions and government support of mass transportation. I think Alec really ought to apologize for ever taking a ride on a French train.


Here's an entertaining read about Eastwood's movie accounting of that train ride (and what is up with these mile-long links?):,-Real-life%20hero&text=On%20August%2021%2C%202015,a%20passenger%20train%20in%20France.&text=The%20four%20were%20hailed%20as,various%20honors%20for%20their%20valor


The Freedom Foundation, a non-profit group, campaigns against excess government spending and are small-government advocates. Yet they took a million dollars in federally backed small business loans so they could continue to beat up on the working class who want union protection to get basic worker rights. Yeah, that "hero on a train" thing, while commendable, lost it's luster years ago. Same with Clint Eastwood lecturing an empty chair like a crazy old man.


Is anyone else here getting sick of reading about his hero story over and over again?

Also beings he seemed to worship Dallas Heard as some type of god from his Facebook posts months ago, I wonder what his thoughts are now after his recent behaviors?

Marine Vet

Yes Yes Yes, His 15 Minutes is Well Past Due.


Yes here, too. Time for him to go away. Take some of your friends (I mean business partners) too.

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