Veterans Campaign

Special elections. Who might run in 2016. We’re a long way from November, but it seems you can’t turn on the TV these days without being inundated with politics. Some days, it just makes me want to turn the channel. Other days, it makes me want to run for office. I know I can’t be the only one who thinks this way. But, like many of you, I would have no idea of where to start….which is where Veterans Campaign would be helpful.

Veterans Campaign is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, which trains veterans (and those interested in working on veterans’ campaigns) on the basics of getting elected. Originally started by former Marine Seth Lynn while he was a student at Princeton and his former commanding officer, Michael Hunzeker, then a doctoral candidate at Princeton, the organization is now affiliated with The Center for Second Service, of which Lynn serves as Director, at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. Using two day workshops, Veterans Campaign brings in current elected officials and Beltway insiders to teach veterans about campaign financing, media and communication, and considerations specific to candidates with military service. The workshops are open to anyone interested in running for office or running a campaign, including those who have no prior political experience.

The next workshop is scheduled for 26-27 April at the National Veterans Center in Washington, DC. The lineup of guest speakers includes former attendees of Veteran Campaign now in office, a political correspondent, and a campaign strategist. Registration is still open and can be completed here. Registration costs $150 for general attendees; student veterans, active military, and former attendees get a $50 discount (financial assistance may be available; POC is listed on the registration form). The event is catered, but attendees have to arrange and pay for their own transportation and lodging.

If you miss this workshop, there will be others. Currently, there is a training workshop for female veterans tentatively scheduled for some time this Fall. You can sign up for their newsletter to be kept informed of upcoming workshop dates.

If attending a workshop isn’t possible, Veterans Campaign has other available resources:

– Speaker Series: Taking place on the first Wednesday of every month, the program brings in former politicians – senators, representatives, former cabinet members – for a short, informal lecture and Q&A session. Videos of past speakers can be found on Veterans Campaign’s Facebook page.

– The Candidate’s Field Manual – A 200 page document that covers all of the topics covered in the workshops, it provides strategies and advice (not to mention a list of elected officials) for those interested in running for everything from county commissioner to federal office. The manual is provided free to all workshop attendees and to anyone who donates $100 or more (tax-deductible) to Veterans Campaign. A free 29-page preview is available on the Veterans Campaign page.

– Research – Veterans Campaign is expanding to conduct veteran related political studies. Currently, their “Field Report” page only contains a spreadsheet of all the veterans in the 112th Congress and their information (state, district, party affiliation, and branch of service).

Whether you think you might want to be mayor of your tiny town or Speaker of the House or even if you just want to help those people get elected, check out Veterans Campaign. You can learn more about Veterans Campaign or get registered for their upcoming workshop on their webpage and you can stay tuned in to what’s going on with veterans in politics by following them on Facebook.

You can also find out about more opportunities for budding politicians offered by the Center for Second Service here.

© 2014, Sarah Maples. All rights reserved.

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