For 2016, we want to kick off the year by explaining why we are so passionate about Peace Corps alumni being elected as political leaders.
Peace Corps alumni……
1. Promote peace!
Perhaps this is the most obvious reason. We joined the Peace Corps because we thought Peace is how we save the world. The most recent evidence is the Iran Nuclear Deal. Every RPCV Congressman voted for this deal!
2. Promote Equality for all
As PCVs, we learned to work with everyone in the community and perhaps we were naive to the discrimination that occurs in the communities we served. However, our actions of treating everyone as equals often set the tone for things to get done. RPCVs elected to office continue with these same ideals, that everyone has something to bring to the table! Check out Congressman Mike Honda’s Website (Its also very cool compared to the traditional congressional websites!). He served in El Salvador and has a pretty amazing life story. On discussing the issue of bullying and equality, he says it very effectively:
“We all share the responsibility of creating welcoming and inclusive environments to foster a more vibrant, educated, and respectful society, regardless of gender identity.”
3. Are great listeners, willing to work with most people
Whether it is working across the aisle to pass key legislation or leading town halls to get your perspective. These RPCVs do not assume they know all. They understand to move a community forward all perspectives must be considered.
Check out congress.gov. For example, Congressman Joe Kennedy, III have sponsored 13 Legislations ranging from facilitating STEM Education to honoring the Peace Corps by allowing for a commerative to be built near the DC Mall. Just use the search function and find out about the diverse legislation the RPCV Congressmen are sponsoring and co-sponsoring.
4. Know that change is hard
The Peace Corps Alums elected to office learned one of the biggest lessons in the Peace Corps: Change is hard and is successful when it is implemented in sustainable and incremental steps. The smallest changes can make a difference, whether it was creating a school library as a PCV or fighting for peace on the House floor, we all know that solving problems takes time but if we are persistent and patient, we will succeed. This also means to move our country forward, having many RPCVs elected to office, will make a difference.
5. Promote the Peace Corps
All of our political leaders and candidates love the Peace Corps. They think it was the best experience they have ever had. They want to help Peace Corps be the best it can be, continue thriving as a agency by effectively supporting the current and returned volunteers.
“Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) leads a letter with fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Members of Congress Tom Petri (R-Wisc.), John Garamendi (D-CA) and Mike Honda (D-CA) nominating the Peace Corps for the Nobel Peace Prize.”
And each year, they all actively participate in the National Day of Action during Peace Corps Week.
On a sobering note, the number of Returned Peace Corps volunteers elected to federal office is rapidly going down. Just this year, we are losing our loudest Peace Corps Advocate Congressman Sam Farr-known by his colleagues as Mr. Peace Corps, Congressman Mike Honda has an incredibly tough race, even if he wins his election, 2017-2018 could be his last term. Congressman John Garamendi’s future is also uncertain. We do know that Congressman Joe Kennedy is running again. He is only 35, so we have hope for his future but he cannot fight for the Peace Corps ideals alone. This election cycle we do have two additional RPCV candidates: Paul Clements and Joel Rubin that we need to get elected.
We also need to think about the future. Are you a RPCV thinking of running for office? It does not have to be at the Federal Level, running for school or town board is also just as important. Message us if you are, Peace Corps to Politics and the community is ready to help you succeed!
RPCV Political leaders bring a positive perspective to public policy. The more leaders with these Peace Corps ideals the more likely we can move this country forward in the right direction.
About Peace Corps to Politics
Peace Corps to Politics has been around for two years! Our tiny organization has grown little by little and we are proud to now have over 1100 Facebook Likes! In 2016 we are still run by all volunteers and with no budget.
Our organization is here to let our community and beyond, know about these RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) who are brave enough to run for office. Now 2016 is picking up. We learned alot in 2014 and are hoping to continue expanding and growing. We are so grateful for all the support we have gotten over these years. We hope you will continue to support us! Have questions or suggestions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org