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Iraq War veteran to run against Rep. Bobby Scott

An Iraq War veteran who served in the Marine Corps announced Monday he's running as an independent against U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott in Virginia's 3rd Congressional District.

Justin Gandino-Saadein, 32, said he believes a congressman who is not aligned with a political party has a better chance of breaking the partisan gridlock that has blocked compromise in Washington.

"We need a mediator to break the tension," he said. "They don't trust the parties."

Gandino-Saadein wants to focus on raising the minimum wage, lowering taxes on small businesses and improving medical care for veterans. The election is in November.

"We are doing our constituents of Virginia's 3rd district a disservice by not diligently working to improve wages," he said in a written statement.

The candidate acknowledged that he and Scott, a Newport News Democrat, likely agree on the minimum wage issue and other concerns, but he said the incumbent has become too complacent after 11 terms in Congress. Scott was first elected in 1992.

Gandino-Saadein said he doesn't like the new health care law, particularly because younger people, who are required to buy health insurance, are paying too much of the system's cost. But he disagrees with the Republicans' efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act.

He wants to find ways to reduce the burden on younger people, while looking for savings by making Medicare and Medicaid more efficient.

Gandino-Saadein, a New York state native, has lived in Norfolk for about two years. He said he recently closed his digital media business, BoldAmp Media, which he started last year, to campaign full time.

While in the military he did two tours in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. He holds a bachelor's degree in management and business from American Military University.

The 3rd District includes Portsmouth, parts of Norfolk, Newport News and Hampton. The district stretches northwest to include most of Richmond.

Bill Bartel, 757-446-2398, bill.bartel@pilotonline.com

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