Late last year, the pastor of Abundant Life Church in Lee’s Summit, where Irwin is a member, gave a sermon about “saving America.” Irwin and his wife, Barbara, weighed some options: teaching more at the police academy, ramping up volunteer work, putting more time into family events, or dabbling in politics.
Irwin decided to run for Congress.
“There is a war being waged on our way of life. A full-fledged assault on the liberties which made our country great,” Irwin said in his announcement. “It is a daily attack being fought across the country, from the halls of Congress to the halls of our schools and into our homes.”
A Cass County resident, Irwin served in the Navy for more than 33 years, retiring as a Navy SEAL captain. He also spent nearly two decades as a law enforcement officer in Lee’s Summit and has worked at various U.S. embassies and the State Department.
Over the past several weeks, Irwin has documented his travels around the 4th district on social media, making stops to meet members of the agriculture community and raising awareness about veteran suicide.
In an interview with The Missouri Times Sunday, Irwin pointed to needs in the agriculture community, federal vaccine mandates, and education as the big issues on his mind as he begins his campaign.
“We’ve got to take care of our businesses here, and we have to put America first,” Irwin said. “They need to stop taking away our liberties like forcing critical race theory in schools and radical gender ideologies and just making our kids get shot. Where is the parent influence and the doctor influence so you can make a decision based on what your doctor says?”
Irwin is an alumnus of the University of Missouri and has a master’s degree from the U.S. Naval War College. This is his first political campaign.
“Being a Navy SEAL … one of our big ethos is we will not fail. Failure is not an option for us,” Irwin said. “I’m not afraid of a fight, and my intent is to head to Washington, D.C., to fix the problems that are pushed onto we the people, us Americans. There are a lot of things being pushed down that we need to fix. I’m a fighter, and I’ll go after our enemies, both foreign and domestic.”
The 4th congressional seat became open when Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler jumped into the U.S. Senate race.
State Sen. Rick Brattin, Rep. Sara Walsh, former Boone County clerk Taylor Burks, cattle farmer Kalena Bruce, and longtime Kansas City news anchor Mark Alford are also vying for the GOP nomination.
The district, as it stands now, is a large and diverse expanse of the state, from Columbia sweeping west to just below Kansas City, stretching down to Pittsburg and Lebanon, and settling north of Springfield. Although it’s expected to change during redistricting, the district now includes Whiteman Air Force Base in Johnson County and Fort Leonard Wood in Pulaski County.
Brattin is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and Burks was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.