Washington Senate race: GOP veterans rights leader to challenge Democratic Sen. Patty Murray

(Pasco, WA) —EXCLUSIVE – Tiffany Smiley is no stranger to a significant challenge.

A military wife and nurse, she fought for her husband after the Army officer was permanently

blinded during an attack in Iraq. Later, she was a driving force in the push that led to reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that were signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Now, she's entering a new battle, as she launches a Republican challenge against longtime Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state.

"I'm running for the United States Senate to find commonsense solutions to the unique problems that are facing Washington families and our brilliant youth in this state," Smiley said in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday as she announced her candidacy.

"I'm a wife, I'm a mom, I'm a nurse, I'm a small business owner, I'm a military caregiver, and every day I'm talking to people in my community and this state that are struggling," Smiley emphasized. "I was a voice for my husband when he didn't have one, a voice for military families across the nation, and now I'm ready to be a voice for those in Washington state."

Smiley explained that "16 years ago this month began a fight of all fights for me and my family. A suicide bomber in Iraq blinded my husband."

With her husband Scotty in trauma care, she was informed that he would never be able to continue serving in uniform and was asked to sign a document consenting to his immediate discharge from the Army.

Rather than signing the paperwork and following Army protocols, Smiley refused and fought for her husband.

In a video announcing her candidacy, the narrator spotlights that "with Tiffany by his side, Scotty would find his purpose, becoming the first active duty blind officer to serve in the Army. But from Scotty’s experiences, Tiffany found her purpose, to fight for every veteran and make sure they received the respect, dignity and benefits they've earned. And she would take their fight all the way to the White House."

Smiley says her efforts on behalf of her husband "opened my eyes to the failure of the federal government to protect and support our men and women in uniform."

Her push for reforms landed her on national TV, including numerous interviews on Fox News – and helped to push the Trump administration and Congress to pass VA reforms. Trump signed a bill into law in 2017 that gave leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs more power to fire failed employees and protect those who uncover agency wrongdoing.

"I worked with President Trump for VA reform. He cut red tape for our veterans and their families. I think everyone can be happy about that," Smiley says. "I commend President Trump and his policy and his efforts."

Smiley notes that in her drive for VA reforms, she worked with Murray and longtime GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state "and it shows my ability to work with others to accomplish a mission."

But now she's aiming to defeat Murray, which will require another Herculean effort.

Murray, who was first elected to the Senate in 1992, won reelection in 2016 by 18 points in reliably blue Washington. While not yet formally announcing her reelection, the senator has indicated that she will seek another six-year term in 2022.

Smiley charges that "Murray has failed Washington families."

"She's left Washington state behind. She’s focused on the wrong Washington," she argues. "Our system was not designed for career politicians. We need to hold her accountable and we need representatives, we need new voices, we need fresh voices."

And Smiley stressed that "we need a senator who will fight for Washington jobs, our tax policies, our regulatory policies, and our trade policies, and I'm ready to be that voice."

This article was originally published on April 14, 2021 on foxnews.com

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