Meet The 10 Veterans Newly Elected To Congress

Army veteran Brian Mast was elected the Republican Representative of Florida’s 18th District.
Photo via Facebook

There’s no question that the military molds ordinary citizens into incredible leaders, and it appears the rest of the country has begun to recognize that, too.

At least 27 post-9/11 veterans won congressional races on Nov. 8, while the current Congress includes 26 veterans. In addition, as of now, 18 veteran incumbents won reelection and three senators were not up for reelection this year. There are, however, still handful of races that have run-offs as you can see from this chart drawn up by Military Times.

As of now, the following 10 veterans have been newly elected to Congress.

Don Bacon, Republican Representative of Nebraska's 2nd District

After almost 30 years in the Air Force, Bacon now works as an assistant professor at Bellevue University, where he teaches courses on leadership and American values. He retired as a brigadier general and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, and two Bronze Stars over the course of his career. In the race, he ousted Democratic incumbent Brad Ashford by running on strong national defense, family values, and a simplified tax code.

Jim Banks, Republican Representative of Indiana’s 3rd District

In addition to having spent six years on the Indiana General Assembly, Banks works as a commercial real estate broker in Fort Wayne. He currently serves in the Navy Reserve as a supply corps officer and took a leave of absence from the state senate in 2014 and 2015 to deploy to Afghanistan.

He campaigned on strong national defense, the replacement of the Affordable Care Act, and religious freedom.

Jack Bergman, Republican Representative of Michigan’s 1st District

Bergman is a retired Marine Corps Reserve three-star general. His civilian career included work as a pilot for Northwest Airlines and for a company that made hospital operating room equipment. He also started a firm that sold surgical microscopes and imaging equipment. Bergman ran on job creation, tax relief, and second amendment issues. He hopes to be selected to serve on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

Anthony Brown, Democratic Representative of Maryland’s 4th District

Now a retired colonel in the Army Reserve, Brown deployed to Iraq for 10 months in 2004 and 2005 with a civil affairs unit. He served as as an aviator and JAG officer and worked as an adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration, working on refugee and resettlement problems.

Brown went on to serve as lieutenant governor of Maryland under former presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley. He also lost Maryland’s gubernatorial election in 2014. In this election, however, he ran and won his race on strengthening veterans benefits, ending domestic abuse, and building education initiatives.

Salud Carbajal, Democratic Representative of California’s 24th District

After obtaining his master’s degree, Carbajal served eight years in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, including active duty service during the 1991 Gulf War, while also working in various roles with several Santa Barbara-based non-profit organizations and in local government. Carbajal was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Red to Blue Program, which offers financial, communications, grassroots, and strategic support to candidates across the country. He ran on the issues of supporting middle class families, veterans affairs, and retirement solvency.

Tammy Duckworth, Democratic Senator of Illinois

A congresswoman since 2013, Duckworth was just elected a senator, unseating Navy vet Mark Kirk. An Iraq War veteran, she served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and suffered severe combat injuries, losing both of her legs and damaging her right arm. After, she worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs before running for the 8th district congressional seat in Illinois. While there, she served on the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Duckworth’s work in the House centered on health care, immigration, and foreign aid — issues she campaigned on this year. The seat she won on Nov. 8 previously belonged to President Obama until he was elected president.

Tom Garrett, Republican Representative of Virginia’s 5th District

After getting his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Richmond, Garrett spent six years in the Army, deploying to the Balkans. In 2007, he served as the Commonwealth’s Attorney, and was elected as the state senator for the 22nd district in 2011. His congressional campaign centered on job creation, drug testing for welfare, and his pro-life stance.

Brian Mast, Republican Representative of Florida’s 18th District

Mast enlisted in the Army in 1999 and became an explosive ordinance disposal technician. He deployed to Kandahar in 2010 where an IED blast resulted in the amputation of both his legs and one of his fingers.

After being discharged, Mast worked for the Department of Homeland Security as an explosives specialist. The race was his first, and he managed to turn a blue seat red. During his term, hopes to save the coastal waters in Florida, replace Obamacare, and reform the VA.

Mike Gallagher, Republican Representative of Wisconsin’s 8th District

After graduating from Princeton, Gallagher joined the Marine Corps and spent seven years on active duty in Iraq where he gathered and analyzed human intelligence. Gallagher previously worked as a staff member on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Committee and on Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential campaign.

During his term, he hopes to eliminate wasteful spending and focus on national security. In addition, he is a staunch advocate of Second Amendment rights.

Jimmy Panetta, Democratic Representative of California’s 20th District

In 2003, Panetta commissioned as an Naval intelligence officer in the Reserve. Four years later, he went on active duty with a special operations forces in Afghanistan. He is also the son of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. After separating, he took up a career in law, and most recently, served as deputy district attorney in Monterey County.

Panetta ran on immigration reform, educational opportunity, and job creation. In winning this seat, he’s replacing Democratic Congressman Sam Farr, who held it for 23 years. Prior to that, his the seat belonged to Panetta’s father.

Scott Taylor, Republican Representative of Virginia’s 2nd District

Taylor was a Navy SEAL for eight years. He served overseas in South and Central America in counternarcotics and foreign internal defense missions. Taylor also deployed to Iraq as a SEAL sniper. A Republican, he ran as a candidate in the 2010 primary election for Virginia's 2nd congressional district, but lost to Scott Rigell. This was his second attempt, after Rigell stepped down.

He plans to focus on national security and defense issues, including more investment in cyber defense and unmanned vehicles. Endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Taylor has said he opposes attempts to further restrict gun ownership.

U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, observe protestors toss Molotov Cocktails over the wall of the Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq, Dec. 31, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)

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The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) underway on its own power for the first time while leaving Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia (USA), on April 8, 2017. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni)

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Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.

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Audie Murphy (U.S. Army photo)

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