"I have already pledged an oath to support and defend the Constitution. I have already made the choice to put the country’s interests ahead of my own. By serving in an elected office, I will be honoring that lifelong oath by answering the call to serve again".
Why are veterans are effective congressional leaders?
Research suggests that veterans are more likely than non-veteran politicians to work with their colleagues across the aisle. Veterans have scored higher than non-veterans on The Lugar Center’s Bipartisan Index, which measures how often a member crosses the aisle to sponsor or co-sponsor legislation.
Veterans often have a deeper appreciation of the gravity of national security decisions. For example, research from leading political scientists suggests that veterans in elected and appointed offices have historically had a significantly lower propensity to commit U.S. military forces to disputes overseas.
Effective public service requires sacrifice. Veterans have a proven history and willingness to serve something that is larger than themselves.
Veterans have received some of the best exposure and leadership training through the military, America’s “school of the nation.” Their experiences have prepared them for a lifetime of leadership.
Veterans know how to work hard and get things done. Mission accomplishment comes first, regardless of the obstacles or operating environment.
How does the decline of veterans in office correlate with the erosion of the middle ground in American politics? The erosion of the middle ground in American politics is illustrated by this chart, which shows voting trends and the degree of collaboration of members in the U.S. House over time.2 This correlates with a declining percentage of veterans in Congress.3
1: Scherer, M., Rebala, P., & Wilson, C. (2014, October 23). The Incredible Rise in Campaign Spending. Retrieved November 5, 2017, from
2: Andris C., Lee D., Hamilton MJ., Martino M., Gunning CE, Selden JA (2015) The Rise of Partisanship and Super-Cooperators in the U.S. House of Representatives. PLoS ONE10(4): e0123507.
3: Brookings Institution, “Vital Statistics on Congress,” January 9, 2017,