United States Army Veteran
|Residence:||West Springfield, Massachusetts|
Nathan Bech (b. 1974, Springfield, Massachusetts) was the 2008 Republican Party candidate for U.S. Congress from Massachusetts's 1st congressional district. The seat is currently held by Rep. John W. Olver, an Amherst Democrat. Bech is one of eighteen Iraq War veterans who ran for congress in 2008.
Bech grew up in the predominantly Hispanic North End of Springfield, Massachusetts. It was here that he began learning Spanish, a language in which he is now fluent. His family moved to West Springfield when Bech was ten years old. Bech completed the requirements for a high school diploma in three years. He spent the fourth year of high school studying in India on a Rotary Club scholarship. Bech graduated from West Springfield High School in 1992. He graduated from Colgate University in 1999 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science.
Bech joined the U.S. Army Reserve two days before his eighteenth birthday. It was in the military that Bech learned Russian, mostly at the Defense Language Institute. Bech was selected for and graduated from the Officer Candidate School and served in the Army National Guard both in reserve and active duty capacities. He was deployed to Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom as a member of the 10th Mountain Division, working with tribes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
After his return to the United States from Afghanistan, Bech volunteered to serve in Iraq. Due to his Russian language skills, he was deployed as liaison to the 13th Shavnaba Battalion of the Republic of Georgia. The Republic of Georgia's Ministry of Defence made Bech an honorary member of that battalion for his work with Georgian troops in Iraq. He has continued to pursue his interest in the Middle East through study at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and through study in the region itself.
Campaign for Congress
Bech describes his political approach as an "Independent Republican" for working class voters. He has publicly stated that his goal is to emulate the spirit of the late Silvio O. Conte, a long-time Republican congressman from the same district. Bech attempted to de-seat John Olver, who won a special election following Conte's death, and was the first Democrat to hold the seat since it was created 158 years ago. Bech received 27% of the vote.
- "Bech challenges Olver". Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
- "Swift Endorses Bech for Congress - / iBerkshires.com - The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.". Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
- Brandon, Butler (2008-06-26). "U.S. Congressional candidate: I understand how the world works". Sentinel & Enterprise.