The 19-year-old brother of a young Sandy HookHook school shooting hero is running for a seat on the Connecticut State Senate.
On Dec. 14, 2012, JT Lewis’s younger brother, Jesse, who was a 6-year-old first grader, was killed along with 19 other classmates and six staff members after a 20-year-old gunman opened fire in the Newtown, Connecticut, school and then fatally shot himself.
Now in 2019, JT Lewis made his decision to challenge the seat that has been held by Republican Tony Hwang of Fairfield since 2015.
On his video uploaded on Twitter Monday, Lewis accused Hwang — who has supported stricter gun control laws — of being unresponsive when he and his mother contacted him after the shooting, which claimed 26 lives, when he was a state representative for Fairfield and Trumbull but never heard back from the the lawmaker.
“In the months, then years following the loss of my brother, I’ve met governors, senators … we even met President Obama,” Lewis said in the video.
“Our leaders are in it for themselves, to take pictures and fuel an inflated sense of importance,” added Lewis, a Republican who supports President Trump.
In an interview with USA TODAY, Lewis, a student at the University of Connecticut, said he believes in the obligation of both major parties in tackling the issue of school violence from three angles: mental health, gun legislation and securing schools.
Hwang, who was a state representative before winning a seat in the US Senate in 2015, told USA TODAY he can “appreciate and respect” anyone’s desire to run for public office.
“I will always rise above accusations and political negatives,” Hwang said.
In 2016, Lewis won the Courage Award at the Teen Choice Awards. He was cited for his good works after his brother’s death, which included starting the Newtown Helps Rwanda program to support genocide survivors.
“I am young, but I know how to lead.”, Lewis said.