While many people complain about the current leadership in politics on both ends of the spectrum, finding people to run for office is a challenge. Some veterans are willing to step up, and Syracuse University is helping them.
Twenty veterans from across the country are going back to school this week. But just for a week.
“It’s time that we start getting reengaged. To represent our communities better,” said Lou Luba, recently elected as a Tolland, Conn., Town Councilor.
They’re learning how to run for office through the Veterans Program for Politics and Civic Engagement at Syracuse University.
“The nuts and bolts of how to run a campaign but also how to be a leader how to shape a message and how to represent your constituents effectively,” said Luba.
“The kind of general environment for politics is mysterious for lots of people, including myself in many ways. How do you get in, what are the rules of the road, what types of staff and infrastructure do you need, what type of money do you need,” said Maxwell School Director of Executive Education Steven Lux.
This is the program’s first run, helping vets to navigate the hurdles to public service.
“As veterans we’re drawn to community service. We’re drawn to service of our country and of our state. The training and leadership that you get in the military is unlike anything else,” said Luba.
“I volunteer, I'm involved with the community, but this is something that is the ultimate step to say I will own this problem. There is zero trust in government. Everyone’s frustrated. I’ll take a shot at seeing if we can do things a little better,” said Gage Rindt, a veteran participating in the program.
They're looking to step into office with what they believe are different priorities.
“I think when party becomes more than America, it's not why I joined the Marine Corps; it's not the America I believe in. America needs to be first, your party second,” said Rindt.
Veterans make up more than a third of the federal workforce.