Thursday, January 13th, 2011 I interviewed Representative Mike Pompeo (R) 4th US District of Kansas. Rep. Pompeo is a veteran of service in the US Army where he graduated first in his class at West Point and led a platoon of cavalrymen in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell. He started a company in Kansas that ultimately employed around 500 people, and was sworn into office last week in Washington DC.
I was surprised to learn that fewer veterans hold national elected office than ever before. That appears to me to be a trend worth reversing. I asked Rep. Pompeo how service in the military prepared him for success in business and now in national office.
According to Rep. Pompeo, service in the military afforded the ability learn to be organized and prioritize. . The ability to set goals and not be distracted from those goals is very important in the private sector and in office. The military also teaches you a little about how to lead and a lot about how to follow.
I also asked him about veteran’s issues. He said the way we are taking care of active duty servicemembers and transitioning veterans are a high priority to our veterans now serving now as elected officials. Caring for those who are transitioning out at this very difficult time as well as caring for those who have been out longer are two sets of equally important issues.
Pompeo visited Walter Reed last week – and saw many unbelievably heroic Americans. He says that we are doing an excellent job in caring for the physical injuries but is not as confident of our performance in terms of mental health, post traumatic stress and transitional issues – how to take a soldier who has been in combat in a very difficult situation, and get them transitioned back into the civilian world. Pompeo says helping them find “a good working place, a good job, and taking care of their families” are issues he hopes that Congress will take up very quickly.
Any military veteran who now serves as an elected official (from any political party and any office – from Township on up) hereby has an open invitation to appear on GallantFew’s The New American Veteran. Email me so we can set up the interview.