LEXINTON, Mo. -- Rep. Ike Skelton announced his candidacy for re-election to Congress on Monday, saying he would focus on the economy and national defense.
Skelton, D-Mo., said improvements in jobs and health costs were among his top priorities, along with "guaranteeing retirees true social security."
Since 1995, Skelton, the top House Armed Services Committee Democrat, has called for an increase of about 40,000 troops for the Army.
A 14-term lawmaker who represents middle and western parts of Missouri, Skelton reiterated his belief that the coalition effort to rebuild Iraq needs a substantial NATO presence.
Two Republicans have announced plans to challenge Skelton.
Jeff Parnell, of Rogersville, is a tire operations manager for MFA Oil who plays parody songs to Republican crowds.
Steve Morrow, of Bolivar, is vice president for student development at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, where he began on the teaching faculty and has worked for nearly three decades.
Neither has run for office before.