Chris Fedalei

Meet The 26-Year-Old Running Against The Man Who Made Benghazi A Thing

Chris Fedalei didn't appreciate inspirational quotes until he began his run for Congress.

He told Elite Daily:

Fedalei is doing just that in his campaign as a Democrat for South Carolina's fourth Congressional District, which he announced earlier this spring.

Fedalei is 26 years old and graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law last year.

He is running against one of the country's most well-known congressmen: Rep. Trey Gowdy.

Gowdy made a name for himself on a number of Congressional committees. You may remember his staunchly anti-abortion statements at the Congressional hearing on Planned Parenthood last fall.

If that doesn't ring a bell, you may know Gowdy as the chair of Congress's seemingly interminable committee on Benghazi, which held an 11-hour testimony with Hillary Clinton that Gowdy basically admitted was useless.

So Fedalei doesn't necessarily see it as a negative that he's running against a well-known incumbent. Fedalei said:

Fedalei also believes Gowdy's national focus has taken away from local interests. In his district in South Carolina, Fedalei said, there is low education, increasing poverty -- especially childhood poverty -- and a loss in job opportunity.

Chris Fedalei

Fedalei's campaign is focused on public service. His main platform pieces are criminal justice reform and veterans' issues.

Fedalei is concerned about mass incarceration and its disproportionate effect on minority people. He actually went to law school to learn more about criminal justice and get into public policy.

Along with taking a person away from their family, work and education, mass incarceration costs the public money, Fedalei said:

Veterans' issues are close to home for Fedalei, who comes from three generations of army officers.

Working at a veterans disability law office prompted his drive to serve his community. While working to get her benefits, a veteran's wife wrote him a letter about how PTSD changed her husband after fighting in Vietnam. This letter inspired Fedalei to go into politics. He said:

So far, campaigning has been a big mix of activities where “no two days are the same.” Fedalei and his team have been volunteering, giving speeches, going into communities, fundraising and spending days in the office just going through calls and emails. They are ramping up for the November election.

Chris Fedalei

Fedalei's team includes many local young people. Of his main staff, only one is from outside of the district.

Fedalei described his team as a sort of young, political version of "The Avengers":

Although Fedalei is all in on getting involved in politics, he understands why so few young people are motivated to even vote. He said:

Ultimately, though, Fedalei said it's an “ironic tragedy” young people tune out of politics since we're the people who will be most affected by it. One thing is clear, he said:

Citations: Greenville Online, BuzzFeed, PBS, The Hill