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The candidates below are a few of's Emerging Leaders - a “farm team” of progressive candidates with hands-on national security experience. In this program, we recruit vets with promising political potential and promote them in state and local races - whether it’s for the State Senate, State House, City Council, or dog catcher. The idea is to develop seasoned leaders who are more than capable of not only running for higher office in the coming years - should they choose to - but of winning. By fostering their political careers at the earliest stages, together we’ll help them to become our nation’s leaders for years to come!

Allen Vaught


Allen was elected to the Texas House of Representatives for his first time on November 7th, 2006 to represent District 107. When he took office on January 9th, 2007, Allen was appointed Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence and also served on the committee on Juvenile Justice & Family Issues.

Allen served in Iraq from April 2003 to March 2004. He commanded one of the first units to enter Fallujah and was responsible for operating the local government and supervising programs to help its people. Allen served as the de facto mayor of Fallujah. Allen was awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Reserve. In addition, Allen was awarded the Combat Action Badge, Valorous Unit Award and numerous other awards for his service.

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McKinley Bailey


Raised in Webster City, Iowa, McKinley Bailey is serving in his first term as a State Representative in Iowa’s 9th House District. As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, McKinley was recently instrumental in passing legislation to fund veterans’ services through a new state lottery program.

He knows how important those issues are because he’s been there: After graduating from Webster City High School in 1999, McKinley served on active duty in the Army for five years. As a paratrooper with the elite 82nd Airborne Division, McKinley led a Tactical Signals Intelligence Intercept Team into combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was decorated twice for meritorious service in a combat zone.

Joe Rice


oe Rice was elected in November 2006 to represent District 38 in the Colorado State House of Representatives. In his first session of the legislature, Joe served as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Business Affairs and Labor, and was a member of the Committee on Transportation and Energy. He was recognized as being one of the most effective representatives in the legislature, passing 18 bills in his first session. These included a number of measures that benefited military personnel and veterans.

Joe has served in the military for over 23 years, mostly in the Army Reserve, and presently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He’s served several tours on active duty, including peacekeeping in Bosnia-Herzegovina and two combat tours in Iraq. Lt. Col. Rice was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq, that included among other duties, establishing the first post-Saddam Baghdad City Council. He has also been awarded the Combat Action Badge for actions under enemy fire, and numerous other awards and decorations.

Richard Riggs


Richard Riggs is running for State Representative in Oregon’s 20th district. Richard’s family has a tradition of Naval service; his grandfather served in WWII as a Seabee, and two of his uncles served in Vietnam. While growing up in Oakridge, Oregon, Richard saw his community devastated when its mills were closed, and he decided to enlist in the Navy at age 17.

Serving as a Machinist Mate, Richard quickly worked his way up through the enlisted ranks and was encouraged to apply for the Navy’s enlisted commissioning program, to which he was accepted in 1989. Richard earned a B.S. in Mathematics at Oregon State University, attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and was commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer in 1992. Following his commissioning as a Surface Warfare Officer, Richard served in USS Arkansas (CGN 41), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and USS O’Kane (DDG 77). While serving in O’Kane, Richard participated in both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

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