High Ground Veterans Advocacy, Training Tomorrow’s Advocates for Real Change

High Ground Veterans Advocacy fellows and Sen. Jon Tester (Jan. 2017)

High Ground Veterans Advocacy is a high-speed low-drag organization born from the passions of five veterans who were motivated to push lawmakers into addressing critical issues facing post-9/11 veterans, like Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Sexual Trauma, and the “Bad Paper” debacle.

“Veterans Want Past Discharges to Recognize Post-Traumatic Stress” NYT Feb. 19, 2016

I first learned of HGVA last year, when the New York Times chronicled their first mission, storming the hill to educate members of Congress about the military’s Less-Than-Honorable practice of administratively removing servicemembers with PTS, TBI, and MST, but without any benefits.

Over the following months, the group met with key representatives and senators, and forged new coalitions between them and VSOs with shared common interests. Their diligence eventually paid off, when in September, sponsors of the Fairness for Veterans act held a Capitol press conference to urge support for their legislation.

Fairness for Veterans act Capitol press conference, Sept. 13, 2016

Several months later, the coalition earned a major victory when portions of the Fairness for Veterans act were included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. (Unfortunately, as explained here, the final bill was watered down and key provisions were excluded, leaving much work to be done.)

Author with fellow U.S. Marine, Rep. Mike Coffman, lead sponsor of Fairness for Veterans

This January, I had the privilege of joining fellow motivated veterans of the inaugural class of HGVA fellows in Washington, D.C, where we spent a week reviewing proposals and storming Capitol Hill.

As a High Ground fellow, I proposed legislative improvements to the Fairness for Veterans act, and was able to explain my reasoning and share my experiences with lawmakers of the House and Senate Armed Services committees.

HGVA fellows with Rep. Steve Russell

In our week of fellowship, I was able to form new lasting friendships, network with DoD professionals, and speak directly with lawmakers involved with military and veterans affairs. I gained a breadth of knowledge and understanding about what goes on behind the scenes of the legislative process, and learned new strategies on how to effectively draft and communicate proposals for positive change.

If you are a highly-motivated, self-starting service-member or veteran who enjoys detailed policy research to identify bipartisan solutions for military issues, then I highly encourage you to apply for a HGVA fellowship today.

This is serious work for serious individuals who are committed to improving their communities and the lives of military men and women everywhere.

HGVA is looking for a few good women and men.
Are you up for the challenge?