If you were looking for ideal candidates for public office, you would likely want people who had demonstrated that they were willing to put the needs of their fellow citizens above their own. You would also want them to have demonstrated the courage to take a strong stand, even if it meant that their personal interests could be put in jeopardy. And you would definitely want candidates who had real world experience working with people from different backgrounds to achieve great things.
Fortunately, we here in Rhode Island have an ample supply of people who meet this test: military veterans who have served our nation with honor.
Thanks to their military experience and training, Rhode Island’s veterans bring many important qualities and skill sets to any task they set their hand to. We need these leadership qualities in our elected officials – more today than ever. As veterans ourselves, we believe this underrepresented group of public servants will deliver great things for our state as they take their place in positions of leadership. That is why we are reaching out to our vets and asking them to serve once again, this time for political office at the state and local levels.
As co-chairs of the newly formed Rhode Island Democratic Party Veterans Caucus, we are officially announcing its establishment and kick-off of our priorities for the 2018 mid-term elections. While our group is just getting started, we’ve already begun activities for voter outreach, registration and membership growth from the veteran community. We’ve met several times to formulate our mission, goals and plan to reach out to fellow veterans. But this is about more than our party.
No matter their individual political views, veterans bring an understanding and appreciation for “achieving the mission,” and they embody the commitment, communications and cooperation needed to succeed in any endeavor. Our fellow vets already know how to lead, how to be part of a team and how to build even more powerful teams. Any successful effort requires these attributes, including developing the best public policies. As more vets become elected officials, they will be well prepared to step into office and lend these skills to the challenge of Rhode Island’s demanding political leadership environment.
The RIDP Veterans Caucus mission is to identify interested veterans all over our state who want to step up and serve again. We want to assist them in becoming effective candidates for office and provide support for their campaigns. Our goal is to get as many veterans, who share the values of our Democratic Party, elected to office.
Again, this is about more than our party. We are inviting all veterans across the state to get involved. Make sure you are registered to vote. Ask candidates for office how they will make our state and our country a better place. Promote issues that matter to you, your families and communities. And, if you feel inspired, run for office to make a real and lasting difference.
You’ve answered the call to serve before. We’re asking you to answer that call again – a different challenge perhaps, but still one requiring leadership skill, commitment, cooperative spirit and the honor and personal integrity all Rhode Islanders deserve.
Senator Jim Seveney and Representative Camille Vella-Wilkinson are co-chairs of the RI Democratic Party Veterans Caucus.