by Bianca Strzalkowski
There are 82 members in the U.S. House of Representatives who are veterans, including newly sworn-in Congressman Jim Banks, according to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The Navy Reservist is among a small percentage of the freshmen class who have firsthand perspective of the current conflicts as part of his resume. Banks shared his journey from humble beginnings to becoming a mouthpiece in DC for the nation’s veterans.
Did you always want to be in politics?
I came from an apolitical family. My dad worked in a factory, my mom has “I believe the next two years is a significant period that we are going to go through in fundamentally rebuilding the military.” been a cook in a nursing home until just recently. If anything, they hated politics and politicians, and they still do. So I didn’t grow up in a political family or politics, but I took an interest at a younger age as a college student. I was a college Republican. I interned for a congressman when I was in college and just took an interest at that time in my life.
Did you ever envision you would hold a position like you are today?
Thinking back to my college years, being active as a Republican, I don’t know if I could have ever imagined doing what I’m doing today. I did get elected to a local office in my 20s, I served on the county council in my mid-to-late 20s, and then I got elected to the state senate around the age of 30, so public service is certainly something I aspired to at a younger age.
As your career was progressing in politics, why did you make the decision at that point to join the military?
Yeah, usually it’s the other way around, isn’t it? But, I got to the age of around 30 and the clock was ticking so I knew if I didn’t pursue a lifelong dream of serving in the military at that point I might exceed the age requirements and not get the opportunity to. My brother served for 10 years active duty Air Force, he deployed to the Middle East, and I was always very proud of his service. Both of my grandfathers served in the Army. So I had a family history. My dad always regretted not serving so he would tell us all throughout his life that he almost enlisted, he didn’t do it, and he regretted it. I got to the age where I thought to myself, if I don’t serve I’ll regret it for the…