Congress has been totally focused on the election process recently. I would like to
review briefly the current election from a veteran perspective.
Since the 1970s the number of veterans in Congress has been on the decline. However, as we look at the candidates running for office this year there's some room for optimism. More than 180 veterans were on the ballot last Tuesday, November 3rd, which is up 5% from 2018 according to a study by the University of San Francisco. It should be noted that for many they were running a long shot campaign in districts that lean toward one party. In Virginia, my home state, Dan Cade, a combat wounded warrior who lost his leg in Iraq in 2005 ran against an incumbent, Senator Mark Warner, but has not prevailed.
There were 53 Democratic and 110 Republican veterans on the ballot for House seats including incumbents and challengers. Veteran status is valued much more today than in years past, but that does not mean a voter will necessarily choose a challenger veteran over an incumbent nonveteran. In some cases, you may have had two veterans running against each other as in Arizona with Senator Martha McSally (R), former Air Force colonel and democratic challenger, Mark Kelly, a retired Navy Captain and NASW astronaut.
We are still waiting for the final tabulations in many districts and Senate races so the final numbers are not yet available, but it appears that we may be developing a new trend of growth of legislators who are also veterans.
Stan Remer, LCSW
Congressional and Legislative Liaison