Franklin County Commissioner Brad Peck has officially entered the race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings.

In a telephone interview Tuesday with the Yakima Herald-Republic following a news conference in Pasco, Peck said his 21 years in the Air Force and time as an energy production project manager at the Columbia Generating Station near Hanford have prepared him to tackle the area’s issues in Congress.

“I think I have a breadth of experience to do the job well,” said Peck, 55.

Peck’s announcement continues to swell the ranks of those expected to join a field of Republican candidates. So far, most hopefuls reside in the Tri-Cities or farther east of the Columbia River.

Peck said he has had his sights on Congress for a number of years, but didn’t expect Hastings, the Pasco Republican who has held the seat for 20 years, to retire this year.

“I didn’t just decide to run for this position, this has been in my plans pretty much as long as I’ve been a commissioner,” said Peck, who was first elected in 2008. Peck is also the chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party.

Other Republican candidates who have said they are considering running include state Sens. Sharon Brown of Kennewick and Janéa Holmquist Newbry of Moses Lake; Rep. Charles Ross of Naches; former state Department of Agriculture director and state lawmaker Dan Newhouse; Kennewick attorney George Cicotte; former NFL tight end Clint Didier; and Gavin Seim, an Ephrata portraitist and filmmaker.

Josh Ramirez of Pasco, a Washington River Protection Solutions project control specialist, has announced he will run as an independent.

No Democrats have yet said they’re interesting in running. The filing period runs May 12-16. The primary is in August.