Jan. 6 was ‘the catalyst’ to former Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn’s run for Congress

Harry Dunn, the now former Capitol Police officer, says he is running for Congress largely due to the violent and deadly events that unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.

“I was on the front lines. I saw the carnage and…how close we came to not certifying the election for the first time in American history,” said Dunn, vying for the Democratic nomination for Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District.

Private First Class Harry Dunn of the US Capitol Police testifies before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on US Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. During its first hearing the committee, currently made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, will hear testimony from law enforcement officers about their experiences while defending the Capitol from the pro-Trump mob on January 6. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images)

“I don’t have the ability to sit back and wait and see what’s going to happen,” he told theGrio.

Dunn announced his bid for Congress on the eve of the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection, where a violent mob comprised of supporters for former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop the transfer of power from the then-Republican president to his 2020 Democratic opponent President-elect Joe Biden.

The former Capitol police officer, who risked his life to defend the institution and its members, said the violent riot was “the catalyst that put me in this moment.”

“All my life, I’ve had the mindset and heart of a public servant,” said Dunn. “For the last 15-plus years, I’ve been a public servant, serving Congress.”

When U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., announced that he would not seek reelection in October, Dunn said he “provided an opportunity to replace Sarbanes with another warrior for justice.”

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., praised Dunn as “an exemplary public servant to show tremendous courage and valiance on Jan. 6 and then after Jan. 6 in holding Congress to account.”

Rankin told theGrio, “There’s a great field of candidates out there, and the voters are lucky to have such great choices and to have him part of the field.”

Jan. 6 Insurrection,
FILE – Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump stand outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. On Monday, Dec. 19, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold its final meeting. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

U.S. Rep. Glenn Ivey, D-Md., said in a statement provided to theGrio, “Mr. Dunn will make a good candidate. His experience as a Capitol Police officer will serve him well.”  

Democratic strategist Ameshia Cross said Dunn has “devoted his life to protecting democracy.”

“This is someone who still sees an America worth fighting for,” she said of Dunn, despite being ridiculed and receiving threats across social media for his testimony in the House Jan. 6 committee hearing.

Cross said Dunn’s run “shows that he really cares about where this nation is going,” adding, “That says something.”

If elected, the Maryland native plans to tackle police reform and gun control, two key issues that have stalled in the House and Senate in recent years.

Dunn said that just because members of Congress failed to pass police and gun reform legislation, it “doesn’t mean the problem of police brutality and the need for police reform goes away.”

“We need to elect people that will bring the issues to the floor [and] pass them,” he said. “I definitely am a champion for police reform and commonsense gun reform.”

He continued, “We need to find a place where we can balance the Second Amendment with common sense.”

U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn listens to testimony during the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

If elected, the former Capitol Police officer plans to also turn his attention to the issues of infrastructure, inflation, crime, and reproductive rights.

“Crime is on the rise. We need to get that under control, and that is not saying putting people in jail,” he said. “We need to get to the root cause of the problem and find ways to get individuals that are committing these crimes off the streets and put them in the best position to be successful.”

The Congressional candidate also has his sights set on tackling mental health issues.

“I will work as hard as I can to be a champion for reducing the stigma of mental health,” he said. “We need to take care of each other and see each other as people and realize that it’s OK to not be OK.”

If Dunn comes out victorious in the Democratic primary and wins the Congressional seat, he would serve in Congress alongside Republican members who are election deniers and Trump supporters, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.

“For the past 15 years, I’ve protected those types of people,” he said. “You know what? That’s what democracy is. Election denial isn’t illegal and they have a right to say stuff, even that it’s a lie.”

However, he told theGrio, “It’s important to have individuals to push back against them and set the record straight with truth.”

Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection,
FILE – Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. Top House and Senate leaders will present law enforcement officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, with Congressional Gold Medals on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, awarding them Congress’s highest honor nearly two years after they fought with former President Donald Trump’s supporters in a brutal and bloody attack. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

“We need individuals to have seats at the table,” said Dunn, who said that if elected to Congress, he “won’t be overlooked.”

“I won’t be dismissed as an angry leftist with an agenda. I am your equal. I will be your colleague. And I won’t work for you – I will work with you,” he added.

Dunn said he wants his prospective constituents in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District to know he’s “a regular guy who wants to help people out.”

“I’m a proud father – a girl dad –  who just wants to be a vessel to give people that don’t have a voice amplification,” he shared.

“One of my friends is a judge, and I heard him say recently that people want three things…to be seen, to be heard, and to be respected,” he added. “I believe in all of those things.”

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Harry Dunn, a former Capitol Police officer, has announced his candidacy for Congress as a Democrat in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District. His decision to run is largely motivated by the violent events of January 6, 2021, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Dunn risked his life defending the Capitol and its members during the insurrection, and now he wants to serve as a member of Congress to address issues such as police reform, gun control, infrastructure, crime, and mental health. Dunn’s candidacy has received support from other Democratic politicians and strategists who praise him for his courage and commitment to serving the public. If elected, Dunn aims to push for legislation on police reform and gun control, as well as addressing issues such as crime and mental health. He also intends to work with Republican members of Congress to ensure that the truth prevails and to advocate for the needs of his constituents. Dunn wants voters to see him as a regular person who wants to be a voice for those who are often overlooked and unheard.

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