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Bursting onto the political scene in his first run for public office, Colonel August Pfluger’s well-funded congressional campaign took off quickly, statistically soaring to the top of the crowded field of contenders.

Yielding from the San Angelo area, 42-year-old Pfluger is a seventh-generation Texan. He and his wife, Camille, have three daughters together with ages ranging from 5 to 12.

Pfluger is one of 10 candidates seeking to succeed retiring Congressman Mike Conaway (R-Midland) in Texas’ 11th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The vast district is considered one of the most solidly Republican seats in the nation, composed all or in part of 29 counties that stretch from Granbury to the New Mexico state line in Andrews County. Some of the main cities in the district are Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo.

Pfluger told Texas Scorecard how, at the age of 18, he received a congressional appointment to the Air Force immediately after high school, becoming an officer at age 22.

Part of what inspired Pfluger to join the armed services and to give back came from some wisdom and guidance imparted on him at an early age by role models in his family.

“I had two grandfathers that served in World War II who inspired me at a young age—not only to serve in the military but also to serve through charity,” Pfluger said. “Growing up with those influences in my life, listening to the greatest generation … I can remember being inspired to serve from as early as 8.”

After serving nearly 20 years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot flying combat missions against ISIS, Pfluger transferred to the Air Force Reserve, where he was recently promoted to the rank of colonel.

In addition, Pfluger has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Air Force Academy and three master’s degrees—one in aeronautical science, one in military operational strategy, and the third in international business and policy.

Texas Scorecard asked Pfluger to describe what inspired or motivated him to seek higher office. “We need someone who will stand up for what this district needs and what our country needs,” Pfluger said in response. “I am no stranger to service, and [we] have committed our lives to public service. This is a different way to serve.”

Further elaborating, Pfluger said it is worth stepping up to fight against socialism and for the interests of the district. “We need someone who will stand up for rural voices, for the energy industry’s voice,” he said.

Citing his stint as a national security advisor, Pfluger says we need to secure the southern border. He then touched on some of his other main campaign platform positions.

A supporter of the Second Amendment, Pfluger told Texas Scorecard that he was against the ban on bump stocks, saying things like this would lead to a “slippery slope” that infringes on constitutional rights. Pfluger also said he is against “red-flag” law types of legislation.

“I own weapons. And yes, I use them for hunting, but that’s not why we have the Second Amendment—we have it to protect ourselves against government tyranny.”

Pfluger, a Christian, also says he will defend religious liberty against government interference.

When asked about his first priorities should he be elected to Congress, Pfluger immediately said he would set out to educate the other members of Congress on the importance of energy independence—especially from a national security standpoint. Pfluger pointed out how the oil production of the Permian Basin gave the United States and President Trump the position of strength to do things like the recent termination of Iranian terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani.

Concerning the House Freedom Caucus, Pfluger is one of the contenders who hasn’t signaled his outright intent to join, but he has reportedly stated that if being a part of the Freedom Caucus will allow him to better serve his constituents, then he’s all in.

Pfluger carries a wide range of notable endorsements. Chief among them is his recent endorsement by President Donald Trump. Pfluger is also endorsed by Congressman Dan Crenshaw, Senator Tom Cotton, Midland Mayor Patrick Payton, and several energy industry leaders and local elected officials.

His closing message to voters:

“Congress is comprised of only 18 percent who have served, which is at an all-time low, and the president is pushing for more vets to serve in Congress; [vets] have the experience of service. Congressmen Van Taylor and Dan Crenshaw have both served, and they are people I look up to,” he said.

“I am asking everyone for the consideration of their support and their vote. I will serve this district with integrity and honor.”

Early voting for the March 3 Republican primary election is ongoing through February 28.