A construction worker in Prince William County, Va., made famous more than two years ago by Sarah Palin has decided to throw his hardhat into the Virginia political ring.
Tito Munoz, who came to be known as "Tito the Builder," made his political debut at a Republican rally during the 2008 presidential campaign.
The Colombian-born Munoz in his yellow hardhat became an outspoken supporter of the McCain-Palin ticket on national TV. His defense of "Joe the Plumber" and strong criticism of what he called liberal media bias brought him to the attention of the McCain-Palin ticket.
"It's an honor because I was not expecting that publicity, but I'm a construction owner, I'm a construction guy," he says now. "I'm just doing what I have to do as an American."
He stayed involved in politics. At last year's Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C., he compared some of President Barack Obama's policies to those of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
"We have to fight back. We don't need the media to tell us we can't do it," he said. "We have to march and we have to take back our nation."
For Munoz, that first step in taking back the nation is to run for Virginia's state senate seat for the 36th district in the Republican primary. If elected, Munoz would be the first foreign-born Hispanic to serve in Virginia's state legislature.
He said his primary issue is job creation.
"We have to remove regulations and remove taxation," he said of his strategies to helping create jobs.
Prince William County is known for its tough stance against undocumented immigrants. Munoz said he does not support granting legal status to undocumented immigrants but argues that any efforts to detain them must be lawful.
"We cannot destroy the individual liberties of the citizen just to be looking for illegal aliens," he said.
Munoz will face Jeff Frederick, the ousted head of the Virginia Republican party, in an Aug. 23 primary. Frederick, a former state legislator, said he is running to change politics as usual in Virginia. The winner will run against the longtime incumbent Democrat Linda Toddy Puller.
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