I first met Adam Kokesh in July 2008. I was working on a piece about dissenting Iraq veterans – and he quickly became a central part of my weekly visits to the Iraq Veterans Against the War group house. While there were many guys in the house, his intellectual edge and candid demeanor stood out on camera. As I went, once a week for a month, I interviewed him more.
After that MTV piece aired our paths kept crossing. We were both at the Republican National Convention, where he delivered a speech for the Campaign for Liberty. Later that week, he was all over CSPAN, MSNBC and CNN, as the spectator who interrupted Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) speech with a sign that read: “McCain Votes Against Vets” and “Your Can’t Win an Occupation.”
Today Kokesh is back in his hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico. On May 3rd, 2009, the 27-year-old Marine announced he would explore a run in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. If he decides to do it, he will face freshman U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján.
Here is an exclusive Q&A with the possible youth candidate – his thoughts on running, party politics and the use of new media tools in the halls of Congress.
EricaAmerica: On May 1st, you created an exploratory committee to run in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. What brought you to this point and this decision? Obviously, your time in Iraq served as a major influence.
Adam Kokesh: The formation of the exploratory committee is just the formalization of a process that has really been going on for years. Since I was first politically active, people have been encouraging me to run for office, especially for Congress. This might just be the time and the place for me. When I got back from Iraq I realized that the issues we debate are more than just academic or intellectual issues, but when we are talking about government, the use of force, and war, the issues are in one way or another a matter of life and death. That’s what motivated me to get involved in the first place.
[Fallujah, Feb-Sep ’04]