Veteran representation in Congress has declined from more than 75 percent in the 1960s to 19.1 percent today.
The Veterans In Politics (VIP) initiative at Syracuse University is designed to change that by encouraging veterans to seek political office or a career in politics.
The program will enroll its first class later this year. It will feature online coursework and a one-week intensive residency. The curriculum is expected to cover election law, party politics and public policy, creating, managing and leading campaign teams, campaign finance, and other election-related topics.
With initial support from JPMorgan Chase, Syracuse’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs are joining forces to bring the program to veterans and military family members.
“Veterans and their families are an incredibly valuable asset to the public service sector and we’re proud to support the ‘Vets in Politics’ program to help develop the next generation of political leaders,” said Mark Elliott, head of Military and Veterans Affairs at JPMorgan Chase.
David M. Van Slyke, dean of the Maxwell School, says the initiative will “empower those who have served our nation in uniform with preparation, expertise, and confidence so that they can extend their commitment to public service in the form of a political career at the local, state or federal level.”
Senior Director of Research and Policy for IVMF Nick Armstrong added that veterans are a natural fit for public office.
“They compromise more than one-third of the federal workforce and have been shown to be more likely to vote, contact public officials, volunteer, give to charity, and work with neighbors to fix problems in their community,” he said.
Veterans also tend to be more bipartisan than their peers, Armstrong said.
“Their military service primes them for the responsibilities that come with public office, yet programs to support such a career are few and far between,” he said.
To learn more about the initiative, visit IVMF.