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Fewest Vets in Congress Since 1940s

USA Today - November 20. 2012 - WASHINGTON — A decade of wars abroad has not reversed the decline in military veterans serving in the U.S. Congress. When the next session convenes in January, the two chambers will have the fewest number of veterans serving since World War II. It's a continuation of a nearly four-decade-long decline of veterans in office since the peak of their service in the years after the Vietnam War.

In 2013, just 19% of the 535 combined members in the U.S. House and Senate will have active-duty military service on their resume, down from a peak in 1977 when 80% of lawmakers boasted military service. In the current Congress, 22% are military veterans.

The transition from the draft to an all-volunteer military in 1973 is a driving force of the decline, but veterans and their advocates say they face more challenges running for office in the modern era of political campaigns.

"There's so few opportunities that we have where veterans can run a federal campaign," said Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org, a liberal veterans' advocacy group that supports candidates for office. "They are credible messengers to the public, but only if they're financed. A veteran with a great narrative that doesn't have the infrastructure to sell themselves is a tree falling alone in the woods."

Louis Celli, legislative director for the American Legion, said the realities of modern military life make it difficult for veterans to establish roots in a community to build political networks and the financial backing to run for office. "Oftentimes, veterans don't travel in those circles," Celli said.

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It's painfully obvious that

unless they are of the ilk as McCain, Vets are not welcome in our government. When I refer to McCain I'm referring to an individual who had at least three jets shot out from under him, an individual whose father was an admiral, an individuals who's jet was responsible for a horrendous accident and subsequent burning alive of scores of sailors aboard the U.S.S. Foresstal, the official story was a missile from good old Johns plane fell off. What they fail to admit was a grab ass practice of these good ole boys to load up the fuel pumps on their planes prior to igniting to give the guys behind them a jolt. John was sent to Hanoi, where he received much better treatment than others. He broke his arms ejecting and not from torture. Total incompetent.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

Honorable folks like Veterans do not subscribe to

the special interest payoffs that it takes to get elected..

Government is supposed to protect our freedom, our property, our privacy, not invade it. Ron Paul 2007


a bunch of chicken hawks

Bet we have the most attorneys in Congress than ever before too.

These snakes need to be weeded out of government at all levels.


SteveMT's picture

It's bad, but not quite as bad as I thought.

"Law degrees are held by 167 Members of the House (38% of
the total House) and 55 Senators (55% of the total Senate)."

Membership of the 112th Congress: A Profile
August 1, 2012

SteveMT's picture

No mention of Congress losing one veteran named Ron Paul.

Why not put such an important fact in this story?

"Decade of wars abroad has not reversed the decline in military veterans serving in the U.S. Congress".... because so many are brained damaged by head injuries, battle trauma, vaccines, and psychotropic medications or have committed suicide. This author is wrapping the flag around her eyes and refuses to sees the facts. She is in denial about the real reasons for this decline in veterans serving in Congress.

Great article

If we don't step up, fill these seats and take these offices, we will remain enslaved to those who we need to replace with ourselves.

In the article, this line:

Non-veterans run two of the four congressional committees that determine military policy — Armed Services and Appropriations — and have vigorously defended interests of the military and industries that depend on it.

Who are those non-veterans and let's get them replaced.

This is also noteworthy:

Celli said the American Legion could not support any budget deal to reduce the deficit that would put additional financial burdens on veterans, such as higher co-pays for health care or scaled back benefits. "Veterans' benefits should never be a bargaining chip," he said.

The American Leigion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, these organizations divided with Nam, and while there are few vets from Nam, there are even fewer from later wars, conflicts.. because congress doesn't declare war anymore. These "good old boys" (and they are good people) enjoy the past victories/spoils, while seeing the newer vets as, "you guys lost your conflict, so you guys don't get so much". It's not as if military bennefits were distributed equally.

It's also the fact that military trains for corporate security and infrastructure, so they continue government work and police jobs, service jobs doing what they are trained, which is not to think politics. Also, like the military, many of these jobs transfer people for career advancement so they live in many places, but don't get to know anyone.

Why would a spending cut be bad?

Hopefully the trend will continue. The amount of present day spending is scandalous...

To the American Legion

To the American Legion a spending cut would be bad because they do not want any cuts to vets who depend on taxes.