Both candidates running in the special election for the 18th Congressional District have been touting their past service to their country.
"I think that when I went through what it took to be an officer in the Marine Corps., I got the experience to lead, and you got to learn everyday," said Conor Lamb, the Democratic nominee.
"Retired military officer, career military officer, spent most of time overseas, North Korea, a diplomatic mission under the old framework," said Rick Saccone, the Republican nominee.
Saccone spent a career in the Air Force. Lamb served four years in the Marine Corps. Rick Hegdahl, the director of the Vet Voice Foundation, said he wants to see more candidates like them.
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"We are trying to increase the number of vets in Congress, so that when it comes time to make decisions about war and peace, that we actually have people that have experienced war making those decisions," said Hegdahl.
The Vet Voice Foundation works to get more military veterans to run for public office, and also works to promote veteran-related issues. According to census data, in 1971, 73% of members of Congress were veterans. In 2018, only 20% have prior military experience.
"When you are overseas in a war song and you know that there are members of Congress that know what you are going through and making decisions that you know support you with that information," said Hegdahl.
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