Since 1971 when veterans made up 72 percent of the United States House of Representatives and 78 percent of the Senate, the numbers of veterans in Congress has dwindled. In the latest Congress, only 20 percent of Senators served in the military and only 18 percent of House members claimed military service.
Much of that decline is due to the all volunteer force and the shrinking number of veterans in the country as a whole. World War II veterans are almost gone and Korean and Vietnam War Veterans are aging.
Despite declining numbers of veterans in Congress in the past three decades, Rebecca Burgess, manager of the American Enterprise Institute’s Program on American Citizenship said their recent survey indicates that the “pipeline of potential veteran candidates for national office may be refilling.” Her survey found an increase of veterans seeking office at the state and local level. “I think it’s fair to think that we’ll see an increase in the number of veteran candidates at the federal level in coming years,” Burgess said. “For some, state offices are like getting your feet wet.”
New research from AEI found that roughly one in seven lawmakers serving in state legislatures is a veteran, totaling more than 1,000 former military members nationwide.
“With 23 percent, New Hampshire has the strongest veteran representation in a state legislature, followed closely by Nevada, Alabama, North Dakota and Tennessee.” South Carolina follows these states with 18 percent of the Legislature composed of military veterans. “Utah, where only 5 percent of the state’s elected leaders have military experience, ranks last: California, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Illinois round out the report’s bottom five.”
The state legislature survey found that about 14 percent of the 7,400 of the elected individuals nationwide have served; an even smaller percentage than in Congress. Currently military veterans make up only about 9 percent of the total population of the United States.
AEI’s research found the majority of veterans in state legislatures are Republican, at more than a two-to-one ratio. “That mirrors Congress, where 70 percent of veterans in the Senate are Republican and 75 percent of veterans in the House hail from the GOP.”
Burgess said she hopes to build on the finding with more historical data, to track connections between veterans in state offices and federal elections. “The most important takeaway,” she said, “is that many veterans are continuing their service in elected office. Many of them just don’t have the national platform or attention, at least for now.”
President Obama and his ignorant national defense political appointees have done immense damage to the military services of the United States, from the curriculum at the military academies to the misguided political opportunists promoted to the senior leadership ranks.
Four years of Hillary Clinton as Commander-in-Chief will further degrade and likely destroy the effectiveness of the American military for decades to come. Should Donald Trump become the Commander-in-Chief, he will need the very best military advisors and a Congress that will support sound decisions regarding readiness and deployment of the military.
Unlike the days long past when military service meant qualities like duty, honor, country and devotion to the Constitution of the United States, people trained during the Obama eight year social experiment may have a perverted view of what constitutes military duty.