As he grew up, former Army Ranger and Lt. Col. Bobby Cox listened as his grandfathers recounted defending America in World War II, and he heard stories from his father and uncle about their service in Vietnam.
When it came time for Cox to go to college, he selected The Citadel “to test his desire for service,” according to his bio.
“My senior year in college, the September 11 attacks occurred, which solidified my desire to serve in the military,” he explained to IJR. “I knew good men and women were going into harm's way to protect our country, and I wanted to stand among them.”
He was repeatedly told, “If you wanted to be the best of the best, then you had to be a Ranger,” and after passing the grueling training, he joined the 75th Ranger Regiment and served several deployments.
“It was the honor of my life to lead soldiers into combat for our nation,” Cox declared to IJR.
After his time in active duty came to an end, he moved back to his childhood home to raise his family.
However, his desire to serve led him to announce his candidacy for the South Carolina State House of Representatives, which he did on Friday, “the way an Airborne Ranger should.”
He jumped out of a plane with an American flag trailing behind him.
Cox told IJR that he partly decided to run once he noticed politicians were “falling short” on major issues and leaving future generations to pick up the pieces.
However, the ultimate “I have to do this” moment came when ethics violations started getting leveled against South Carolina's elected officials at the state level.
He explained that without being able to trust officials with “basic ethical conduct,” there's no way they could be trusted to deal with issues such as “taxes,” “education,” and “infrastructure.”
“Bringing ethics reform will motivate our officials to serve at a higher standard or force out those that aren't able to hack it with ethical service,” the veteran explained. “I decided that too much is at stake to keep sending the same folks year and year to our state government and expect a different result.”
During his time in the Army, Cox said the greatest lesson he learned was “selfless service” and added that “our lives should be about serving others, not ourselves.”
Now, as a veteran, his ability to be “solution and mission-focused” without letting politics get in the way of the goal are qualities he's confident make him uniquely qualified to serve his would-be constituents.
“Veterans bring a sense of principled boldness that they are serving the greater good and themselves, which seems to be a rare trait in politics these days,” he told IJR.
When he announced his candidacy on Facebook, he revealed that, if elected, he would donate his state salary to organizations that are trying to fight the opioid epidemic, especially among veterans — the effects of which he's seen firsthand.
“Studies show that veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans to die from an accidental overdose of pain medication,” he told IJR, and he called for more research on how to treat chronic pain without opioids.
While he declared on his website that he would limit himself to eight years of service, to promote term limits, he hopes — if elected — his work will bring a better future for other generations.
“I want our children and their children to have more opportunities for a successful, happy life,” the father of two revealed to IJR. “I envision a future where future generations are able to follow their dreams without risk of harm based upon their beliefs within a financially secure nation that can actually offer those opportunities for our children to pursue their dreams.”
Watch his announcement below, via Fox Carolina News.