Veterans for Political Innovation
State Leaders are on-the-ground advocates for election innovations in their home states. The situation on the ground is different in each state. For example, some innovations happen in the state legislatures while other changes can happen at the ballot box.
"Every day, I see our nation tearing itself apart from the inside out. As a Marine Veteran, I know what it takes to work together as a team, and I have great confidence our country can push forward to a time when the fundamentals of our Republic once again guide our path. Our Founders wished for this to be a nation where liberty--not political parties--was our motivation, and we must do whatever it takes to honor those ideals."
"My most pressing goal is to decrease the impact of rampaging political polarization on readiness in the military. To achieve this, I would like to create a safe space for military personnel to discuss their political beliefs. Granted, this will be tricky for a number of reasons. Primarily, military personnel are prohibited from being partisan - for good reason - and second, if such a space were created, the optics of it could produce angst in the civilian population. However, whether we admit it or not, the military is being polarized. The creation of this safe space will enable an exchange of differing viewpoints, which is critical to reduce polarization and build stronger, more cohesive teams."
Carlos De Castro Pretelt
U.S. Army Veteran
"I am convinced that working to fix our broken political system is the most important thing I can do right now. I want to inspire other veterans in Virginia to join me in this mission."
U.S. Navy Veteran
Back during the 2016 election cycle I truly found myself without any political party that I could say reflected my values or shared any practical understanding of how the world worked. It seemed like the discussion had become owned and facilitated by ultra-partisan ideologues that rarely represented us in the middle.
It seems apparent that many Americans and certainly many veterans like me fall well between this cataclysmic divide in our political spheres. While each year seems to be getting progressively worse since then, I’ve felt endlessly frustrated with not having anything to be able to do about it. What can I do? VPI gives us traction and a roadmap to be able to make a mutually agreeable structural change that could heal the worst part of this divide. This is an emergency. Let’s get busy.
I spent and loved the 28 years of service I had to our country as an Army officer. I had the privilege to work with the most amazing humans on the planet from so many different experiences, in some of the most crucible moments of my life and the life of our nation.
Two combat deployments and many more roles as a leader honing skills that were both instructive and rewarding and made me the person I am today. To be successful as a military leader you had to tap into the ability to get people motivated to do something together that apart as individuals they couldn’t. You had to foment trust and passion growing the belief of your team that the task ahead was attainable no matter the odds and then you had to actually to do the work.
Talk was a cheap currency that never had much ROI and spotlight rangers were fast to burnout in favor of those whose deeds not words brought results. This is my framework - be willing to work for what you want in your world. Like many Americans I am so very frustrated by the inert inactivity and gridlock of the people we send to represent us in government. When the desire to keep and retain power is greater than the charge to do the work you’re elected to do for the people you promised to represent then it’s time to fundamentally change how we govern and who we are willing to give this mantle.
I don’t accept that this is how it has to be. I know it’s a behemoth task but for over 246 years Americans have never been shy about expending the sweat equity needed to fuel change. Put me in, Coach! I am ready to do the work.
U.S. Army Veteran
"As a young person and student of public policy, I am constantly reminded that many things need to change — and change fast. Institutions like our election system, once thought to be permanent, have had their vulnerability revealed. We must work hard to revitalize and reform our institutions, especially our elections, or we risk a very unpleasant future. Yet the same impermanence that challenges us gives me hope. I think back to a UVA Professor who keeps a piece of the Berlin Wall on his desk, as a reminder that a problem once thought by his generation to be insurmountable was suddenly dismantled in a matter of days. Our struggles can be just as fading as successes, which only means that we must strive continuously to uphold victories and remain optimistic in overcoming obstacles like the ones we face today. "
Upcoming Local Events
- Jun 05, 7:00 PM – 7:40 PM EDTJMRL Northside Branch Library, 705 Rio Rd W, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA
- Jun 06, 7:00 PM – 7:40 PM EDTJMRL Central Branch Library, 201 E Market St, Charlottesville, VA 22902, USA