Ex-naval officer Suzanne Patrick running for Congress in Va.

Aug. 27, 2013 at 2:34 PM

NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A former Pentagon official, criticizing defense cuts enacted by Congress, said she will challenge two-term U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., in the 2014 election.

Suzanne D. Patrick, 57, of Virginia Beach, a self-described "centrist Democrat," criticized Rigell for voting in favor of legislation that set up the sequester -- across-the-board federal spending cuts that resulted after congressional Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on specific cuts -- The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot said Monday.

The district is home to the massive Naval Station Norfolk, the U.S. Navy home base, which has been hit hard by military spending cuts.

Patrick said Rigell "really did not have to" vote for the sequester.

"Especially in that Rigell's district has the largest naval base in the world," she said. "It's unconscionable to vote for the sequester."

Patrick served 21 years in the Navy reserve and retired this year with the rank of commander. She has held several civilian defense positions, including deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial policy from 2001-05 under former President George W. Bush.

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