Why More Veterans Should Run for Public Office 

There are many instances where service members come back to the United States from their deployment overseas and don’t know what they should do next. Some veterans don’t have a hard time finding a job when they come back from their deployment while others struggle to find jobs at all. Very rarely do people come back from deployment and decide they want to further serve their country by running for public office. However, I believe veterans are some of the most qualified members of our society to run for office.  

In a Pew Research Article written by Drew DeSilver who is a senior writer at the Pew Research Center titled “New Congress will have a few more veterans, but their share of lawmakers is still near a record low”, talks about how the 118th Congress will have the “smallest shares of veteran members in modern times.” According to this article, this has not been the case for a lot of our country’s history. In fact, the article states that “between 1965 and 1975, at least 70% of members in each chamber had military experience.” The reason for these high numbers during this time is an example of the “mass mobilizations of World War 2 and the Korean War.”     

It is clear there have been less and less veterans serving in congress over the past few election cycles. The truth of the matter is that based on their military experience, I believe veterans are some of the most qualified people to run for public office. According to a Time Magazine article titled “Why More Veterans Should Run for Office” mentions how lawmakers who are veterans “have a special sense of duty and an uncommon ability to reach across party lines and get things done” and veterans often “put principles ahead of both party and self-interest.” While there are some exceptions, because of their past experiences, veterans know how to get things done. However, even though a lot of veterans can obtain their party’s nomination, most veterans that run for congress lose in the general election. In the Pew Research article, DeSilver states that although 191 veterans won their parties’ nominations for house seats in 2022, only 80 of them won in the general election. That means that only about 48% of them got elected. While the odds are stacked against them, I don’t believe these numbers should sway them from not running.  

Another aspect that makes veterans so appealing when it comes to running for public office is the extensive leadership experience they have gained in service. In an article by the American Veterans Honor Fund, they mention as the first reason as to why veterans should run for public office is because of their leadership experience. They mention how as the service member moves up in command, their responsibilities grow. It is no secret that to be successful in public office, you need to have some sort of leadership experience, and veterans have that experience needed and wanted to be a successful representative of the people you represent.  

In all, fewer veterans are deciding to run for public office according to Pew Research, but the reality is that veterans are some of the most wanted as seen in the number of veterans that got their party’s nomination. In a time where veterans in government are at an all-time low, now is as good as a time as any to run for public office.  

By Andrew Lanza
Andrew Lanza