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Midwest City native challenging embattled NY congressman

Kellen Curry, a Midwest City native, is running for Congress in NewYork’s 3rd Congressional District. PHOTO PROVIDED

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

A Midwest City native is looking to replace one of the most controversial lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

Kellen Curry, a 2004 Carl Albert High School graduate, recently announced that he is running for New York’s 3rd Congressional District. The Long Island district is represented by embattled Rep. George Santos.

Curry, 37, is an Air Force veteran, who served two tours in Afghanistan, and later worked as an investment banker. He said he was called to run for Congress after learning that Santos fabricated much of his background during the 2022 campaign.

“The person that we have representing us is an unserious person,” Curry said. “I couldn’t sit on Wall Street and watch. I wanted to get back into public service and bring better leadership to New York.”

Santos has come under fire for lying about his background, including his education and work history, during the campaign. He is also facing criminal investigations into his finances. Santos has rejected calls to resign and says he plans to seek a second term in 2024.

Curry moved to New York in 2019 after serving eight years on active duty in the Air Force. He said he never envisioned running for public office but felt pulled to public service.

“I never thought a kid from Oklahoma would be running for Congress in New York, but God has a way of moving things around,” he said. “This is where I was placed, and He opened the door to get back in the public service.”

That call to service is in his blood. Curry grew up in Forest Park and later Midwest City. His parents both worked at Tinker Air Force Base. His father, John, was a naval officer, and his mother Celeste, was a civil servant. Curry has four sisters.

In high school, Curry was a standout on the Titan football and track teams. He later went to the Air Force Academy where he played football and ran track.

Curry later served eight years in the Air Force including two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He primarily worked in cybersecurity technology as a procurement officer.

After eight years, Curry returned to school and earned a Master of Business Administration from George Washington University. He moved to New York to begin a new career in the financial industry. He worked in corporate and investment banking for J.P. Morgan Chase. Curry quit his job to run for Congress.

He has also cited the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2021 as part of his decision to run. Curry called the Biden administration’s plan “disastrous.” 

“I was fortunate to come home [from two tours in Afghanistan] safe and sound, but I had many classmates that did not,” he said. “The way we withdrew was not intelligent and has created a safe haven for terrorists.”

Curry was the first Republican candidate to announce a challenge to Santos. Several Democrats have announced their intentions to run. Curry said he’ll be ready to face Santos in the 2024 primary. 

“At some point [Santos] will be gone, whether that’s now or if he tries to hang on and run again,” Curry said. “Voters need to look to the future.”

Curry said he visits Oklahoma as much as he can. He also stays in contact with many of his former Carl Albert coaches such as Tex Rollins, Gary Rose, Mike Corley and others. He also played football with current football coach Mike Dunn while at Carl Albert.

His family and friends in Midwest City have been supportive of his bid for Congress.

“My family has been very excited that I’m running and getting back into public service,” he said.

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