(WGHP) — Chris Castelli is a man of tradition – perhaps most significantly when it comes to military service.

His great-grandfather was an immigrant and served in the US infantry during World War I. Both of his grandfathers served in World War II, and his father served in Vietnam. It was something related to the military – the US withdrawal from Afghanistan – that spurred Castelli to run for Congress.

“I served my country for 22 years, and I watched a lot of good people give their last full measure of devotion for our country who aren’t here with us anymore,” Castelli said. “And I saw what was happening in the last couple of years and not liking what I was seeing on TV. And I just felt compelled to step up and lead again. I retired in 2012 from the military…because I have a sick child, and I wasn’t ready to retire. I still have a lot of fight in me. The catalyst to jump in this race was watching the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

Castelli says he feels that he relates best to the people who live in the sixth district.

“I certainly represent the middle class. I wore a uniform for over two decades. So did my wife. She’s retired Air Force. She’s now a school teacher,” Castelli said. “We represent the middle class and the people who are hurting most in our country today…obviously the number one issue is the economy. Democrats don’t want to talk about it at all.”

Another way Castelli says he relates is in some of the difficult things he’s faced in his life, including the one that forced him to leave the military before he felt his service should be up.

“My daughter was born a couple months premature and got very sick from a hospital-acquired infection and spent six months in Duke Children’s Hospital,” Castelli said. 

She was premature and developed an infection which he says led to her now suffering from cerebral palsy, and that isn’t all.

“She developed a seizure disorder, and I revived her from dead several times…at that point, I knew I had to retire,” he said.

The sixth district was drawn to favor a Democratic candidate, but Castelli feels a year of retail politics has made inroads, and he feels good about his chances in November.

“I think the future of our country depends on it…every election cycle they say this is the most important election,” he said. “I really believe that in my lifetime that this is the most important election, which is why I stopped my life to do this, a year ago. Beyond the immediate pain of paying at the pump, paying at the cash register, the feeling the inflation, the rise in crime, the crisis at the southern border, beyond all of those things, there is a real fear by the public of what’s going to happen to the country and what it’s going to look like in two years.”

See more from Chris Castelli in this Your Local Election Headquarters edition of the Buckley Report.