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Former Indiana veterans service officer running for Congress

Bloomington area World War II Veterans and their guardians pose for a group photo at the entrance to the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. (Tilford for Congress website)
December 28, 2019

A Monroe County resident, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and former veterans service officer has announced his intent to run for Congress.

John Tilford plans to run as an independent candidate for U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth’s seat. Hollingsworth represents Indiana’s 9th Congressional District.

Tilford said he would accept no campaign donations and only a third of the congressional salary if elected. He said he is familiar with what it costs to live in Washington, D.C., and that his retirement income is sufficient. He added he would use the remainder on additional staff.

Tilford said the current system for filling Indiana’s 9th District seat favors government by and for the wealthy and only those people. He added the hyper-partisan split in the U.S. House would increase the clout and therefore the leverage of an independent’s vote.

“I don’t want to insult anyone — I have friends on both sides — but the campaign theme song is ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ with the repetitive lyric ‘Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,’” Tilford said in a news release. “Since the Republican 2010 redistricting of the 9th, Democratic candidates have either set or matched records for margin of loss. Republican incumbents have voted so consistently with the Republican National Committee line there is no real need for an incumbent: just let the RNC cast the 9th’s votes and contract out constituent service.”

According to the release, Tilford is locally known for assisting veterans and surviving spouses with VA appeals. Tilford is a former Monroe County veterans service officer and enlisted in the Marine Corps as a private in March 1965. Tilford said he would fight for a seat on three committees if elected to Congress: Veterans Affairs, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Oversight and Government Reform.

He also has a master’s degree in strategic intelligence and served as a senior intelligence analyst for both the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Ground Intelligence Center, where he retired as deputy commander. As a civilian, Tilford was a management and organizational analyst for both the IRS in Indianapolis and the Navy at Crane, and was a member of two national task forces.

As an independent candidate, Tilford needs 5,400 signatures to get on the fall 2020 ballot. Tilford said he would make the petition available on his website

“A person signing a petition form is in no way obligated to vote for me, but doing so might provide some serious entertainment during the debates,” Tilford said in the release.


© 2019 the Herald-Times