SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Marshall criminologist and activist announced Monday that he will run for U.S. Senator for the State of Texas.

Dr. Tracy Andrus is a native of Crowley, Louisiana, and has lived in Texas since 2001. After serving three years in prison for check kiting, he earned his associate, bachelor and master’s degrees. He became the first African American in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in Juvenile Justice from Prarie View A&M University.

He has served as Pastor of the Historic Edwards Chapel Baptist Church in Marshall, TX, for 15 years. Andrus has also been Director of the Lee P. Brown Criminal Justice Institute at Wiley College for 17 years. The Tracy Andrus Foundation, where he serves as Executive Director, works to provide homes and services for the homeless in East Texas. It also works for reforms in the U.S. Criminal Justice System.

In a release Monday, Andrus said he’s running to “restore the integrity and confidence in the office and give the people of Texas a strong voice that they can depend on.” He says Texas needs honest and diligent representation.

This is Andrus’ first fun for U.S. Senator. He asks the people of Texas for the opportunity to serve them with “bold leadership and a comprehensive new strategy of working together to advance the interests of all citizens by implementing sound and limited self-governance.”

Andrus looks to fill the seat currently held by Sen. Ted Cruz, who took office in 2013. In February, Cruz told reporters he would run for a third term in the senate in 2024. Primaries will occur in March 2024, and the general election will be held in Nov. 2024.