Born in Mexico, Hector Maldonado grew up in Perris, Calif., as one of 10 children. The Maldonado family operated a hog ranch, and the principles of hard work were instilled in Maldonado early on.
After receiving U.S. citizenship in 1995, Maldonado joined ROTC at Claremont College in Claremont, Calif. A year later, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves.
PERSONAL: From Sullivan. Age 38. Married to Maria Maldonado. Three children, Zachary, Bella and Niko.
PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican
OCCUPATION: Left active military duty Jan. 5 to run for office and was previously unemployed after returning from duty in the Middle East.
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in political science from California State University, San Bernardino.
BACKGROUND: Served 15 years of active duty, including a one-year tour in Iraq in 2004, another in Afghanistan in 2008 and in Bosnia in 1997. Left active duty as a first lieutenant in 1999 and joined the New York Army National Guard. Worked as a full time health care representative in the Bronx for Pfizer Inc. Served as the Kingsbridge Armory commander and was responsible for 86 men. Commanded one of the units that responded to the Sept. 11 attacks .
“Ever since responding to the Sept. 11 attacks, I keep thinking back to the oath I took to defend the country,” he said. “I realized it didn’t matter how much I did to fight on the battlefield. We’re at war right here at home. It’s a civil war of ideology.”
Maldonado said the battle he must now face is in the U.S. Senate.
“Everything the federal government is doing is unconstitutional,” he said.
He has no formal political experience, but Maldonado said he sees his years in the military as an extension of American diplomacy.
“I’ve represented America, while serving in combat in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia,” he said.
If elected, Maldonado said he’ll work to represent the wishes of the American people and push for more jobs and work to overhaul the health care system.
“I plan on fighting for tax breaks and tax incentives for small businesses,” he said. He said he would also like to see the Environmental Protection Agency budget cut by 50 percent to spur job growth.