Election 2020

'15:17 to Paris' Hero Alek Skarlatos Running for Office in Oregon

Alek Skarlatos, one of the three Americans who stopped a terrorist attack aboard a Paris-bound train in August, talks to reporters about the shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

One of the three American heroes who thwarted a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train three years ago is running for office in his home state of Oregon. Alek Skarlatos announced that he was running for the Douglas County commission seat in Oregon at the Douglas County Republican Party headquarters Tuesday night, saying that he would bring more jobs to the rural county if elected.

Skarlatos and his pals Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone played themselves in a Clint Eastwood film about the August 2015 incident called “The 15:17 to Paris.” 

The three childhood friends, who were on a backpacking vacation through Europe, said they felt like their lives were leading up to the moment they confronted a heavily armed Islamist gunman who was attempting to inflict maximum carnage on the high-speed train. “I just looked over at Spence and said, ‘Let’s go’. He jumped up and ran, grabbed the guy by the neck. I got the handgun off him and threw it,” Skarlatos told reporters afterwards. While Stone was choking the terrorist, Skarlatos smacked him over the head with the butt of a gun. Game over.

On Fox and Friends Friday, the soft-spoken hero said that would use his newfound fame to bring attention to issues important to his timberland community.

“Our natural resources are not only going to waste, but they’re being horribly mismanaged,” the former Oregon National Guardsman said. “The federal government won’t let us use any kind of our timberlands — and the best part is — they let them build up and when they catch fire because of all the — mismanagement –we have to pay for the forest fires that they caused,” he explained.

“It’s really pretty sickening,” Skarlatos added. “I just want to do something to help my county out.” He said lack of jobs has led to an increase in drug use in his community.

“There are so many bad problems that come with unemployment — and the government just wants to hand us welfare,” he explained. “And we don’t want it. We want to go back to work — and they really won’t let us — and it’s sad,” he said.

Oregon counties like Skarlatos’ once thrived on timber revenues, but government regulators slashed logging in federal forests thirty years ago. The federal government continued to pour money in to those communities to make up for the loss, but the money has since dried up and now they are struggling to provide basic services.

“I’ve traveled all over the world, and there’s no place I’d rather live than Douglas County, honestly,” Skarlatos said during his announcement Tuesday night. “Really I think that jobs bring in taxes, and if we can get people jobs that would make the whole community better off.”