Former Navy SEAL Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Green Beret Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), and Marine veteran Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) will kick off a Republican effort on Wednesday to recruit more Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans to Congress in 2020, according to people involved in the initiative.
They will also announce the establishment of a political action committee called the War Veterans Fund PAC, which will assist in recruiting, training, mentoring, and supporting veterans running for the U.S. Congress.
“Veterans have a unique ability to put their mission before everything else. Our mission in Congress is to govern responsibly so as to maximize freedom for our citizens and ensure that each American can thrive and prosper,” Crenshaw said in a statement to Breitbart News.
“By recruiting more veterans, we’re trying to make Congress focus more on the future of America and focus less on being hyper political,” he said.
The War Veterans Fund group supported five veterans in 2018, including Crenshaw and Waltz. The group’s deputy coordinator Matt Robbins called Crenshaw a “wonderful gift that keeps on giving” and Waltz “brilliant.”
“We’re looking for guys and gals who have served honorably, who are Republican, who are looking to increase the number of vets in Congress because that percentage is woefully down,” he said.
“We’re tired of people coming here…and getting subsumed by business as usual. We’re looking for folks who want to form a core nucleus and get some sh*t done,” he added.
Numbers of veterans serving in Congress have steadily declined since the mid-1970s, according to the Military Times. There are 96 veterans currently serving in Congress — 66 Republicans and 30 Democrats. However, that is down six from the last session of Congress, according to the outlet. Nearly half of them, 48, served after 2000
Robbins said the group has an initial slate of candidates for 2020 that is not yet ready for release.
The group said ideally, they are looking for between six to eight candidates to support. “We’re looking for quality over quantity,” he said.
As far as numbers, the group’s joint fundraising committee raised more than $130,000 in 2018 from five fundraisers from individual donors and $27,000 for each veteran it supported. “It’s very grassroots, it’s very hands-on, but it’s very impactful at the right moment,” he said.
The War Veterans Fund is run by a group of volunteers.
The event on Wednesday will take place at the Republican National Committee at 12:30 p.m.