Clay Aiken Running for Congress

( American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken officially announced Tuesday (Feb. 4) that he is putting his entertainment career on hold to seek out a seat for Congress in his home state. The position is currently held by Rep. Renee Ellmers.

To accompany his announcement, Aiken released a video that has the singer detailing his childhood, talking openly about his escape from an abusive father that led him and his mother to seek refuge with a friend.

"I've been fortunate in my life, and if you only know the part of my story that starts with a golden ticket-something that still seems unbelievable to me even to this day-you might wonder what would qualify me to run," Aiken says in the clip. "Well, it starts with a life I remember all to well. Mom working nights at Sears, clothes from the thrift store, Christmas' where I might only get one small present but that would make it a present I would cherish."

He goes on to talk about school being his saving grace, helping him to achieve a dream he long held. "To teach children like me and those who faced even more adversities than I did," Aiken says.

Aiken details his qualifications, which include working as a special education teacher for children with autism, traveling to under privileged countries with UNICEF and being appointed by President Bush to a panel that had him fighting for the rights of special needs children. more on this story is an official news provider for
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