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Reuters: U.S. House freshman class includes most veterans in nearly a decade

November 7, 2018

By: Barbara Goldberg

The freshman class of the new Congress will boast the largest number of military veterans in nearly a decade, including a record number of former servicewomen, bolstering a corps of ex-military lawmakers that has been depleted in recent years.

More than 150 military veterans ran as either Republicans or Democrats for the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday's midterm election, at a time when the number of former servicemen and women in Congress is near a historic low as older members retire or have left for roles in the Trump Administration.

Voters elected more than 75 veterans to Congress, said Seth Lynn, a former Marine who serves as executive director of the Veterans Campaign, which has tracked veterans campaigning for the U.S. House for the last decade. Of veterans who won their races, 16 will serve their first terms, outnumbering the freshman class of 14 veterans elected in 2016 and 12 in both 2014 and 2012.

Of the 16 rookies, three were women, nearly doubling the number of female veterans already serving in the House and Senate.

Some observers on Wednesday credited veterans' victories in the 2018 congressional races to the public's weariness with partisan politics.

"Veterans have a formative experience in their 20s that makes them likely to put country ahead of party," said Jason Mangone, a former Marine and co-author with General Stanley McChrystal and retired Navy SEAL Jeff Eggers of "Leaders: Myth and Reality."

"That's the sort of leadership we really want to see. Particularly out of these young veterans," Mangone said.

Among the new generation of veteran candidates was New Jersey Democrat Mikie Sherrill, 46, a former Navy helicopter pilot. Voters elected her to Congress to represent the state's 11th District, which has not sent a Democrat to Capitol Hill since 1985.

On the Republican side, Dan Crenshaw of Texas, 34, the former Navy SEAL who nearly died and lost his right eye in a bombing in Afghanistan but served two more deployments afterward, won his safely red district.

Female veterans are particularly [...]

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