Steve Watkins’s remarkable life and career have been characterized by integrity, courage, leadership and selfless service. He has led soldiers in war, raced dogs across the frozen tundra, climbed peaks, and narrowly escaped death countless times.
Steve is a 6th generation Kansan. His father is a well-respected physician and medical executive who has served the community in Topeka for over 40 years. His mother is a retired public school teacher.
Steve enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point. There, he excelled at engineering, student government, and football. In the Army, he achieved the rank of Captain, and is a qualified Airborne Ranger. He voluntarily extended his military duty obligation so that he could deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Steve served in the violent Khost province and conducted combat patrols on the border of Afghanistan-Pakistan.
After retiring from the Army, Steve spent about ten years serving his country in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Central Asia as an independent contractor. He specialized in engineering, security, economic development, and eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse of the U.S. taxpayer’s money. Through his service, Steve has developed a uniquely personal understanding of the many issues involved in the war on terror and the conflicts between nations in the Middle East.
Steve’s primary employer stated that “Steve Watkins is the greatest war-time leader we ever had — in either theater. The most difficult and dangerous jobs always went to him. Steve is the real Captain America.”
Steve is an accomplished athlete and explorer. In an attempt to become the first person to race in the Iditarod and climb Mt. Everest, he was caught up in the Nepal Disaster of 2015. While at 19,200 ft the mountain., a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing over 8,500 people. Twenty-two (22) people died on Mt. Everest, 6 of whom were from Steve’s team. It was the deadliest day in the history of Mount Everest. Describing the ordeal, renowned professional mountaineer Guy Cotter said he relied on Steve’s “heroic leadership amid the chaos.”
Steve has traveled to over 75 countries. He has earned master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, in addition to his degree from West Point. His wife is Dr. Fong Liu, a surgeon from Birmingham, AL.
Steve is currently running in the 2018 election for United States Congress, to represent Kansas’s 2nd District.