VETERANS -- November 12, 2012 at 11:00 AM ET
Meet Veteran, Representative-elect Tom Cotton
Photo courtesy of Tom Cotton.
Representative-elect Tom Cotton, R-Ark., joined the army as soon as his student loans from Harvard Law School were paid in 2004. After witnessing the tragedy of Sept. 11, Cotton says he felt compelled to enlist.
"I believe our country was attacked for who we are, and I wanted to defend our freedom over sea," said Cotton.
As a veteran, Cotton believes he brings firsthand foreign affairs experience to Congress. He says he knows about waging and fighting wars. And more importantly, he knows how to avoid them in the first place with a strong military. Cotton says his priority abroad is to win the war in Afghanistan. He wants the 70,000 soldiers there to leave a stable and allied Afghanistan that cannot project violence against the United States.
Arkansas's 4th district representative-elect says the most important veterans' issue at home is to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase veteran employment. Cotton says many veterans do not realize the intangible skills they have from their time in service, and thus, they don't look for jobs that reward those skills. He recently attended a Walmart event that focused on reaching out and hiring veterans.
"Any veteran in any walk of life has these intangible skill sets like leadership, teamwork, positive spirit, how to act under extreme pressure, how to make decision with high stakes and imperfect information," said Cotton.
Cotton says his time at the military also shaped him as a leader.
"It tested me in ways never before and gave me more confidence to become a leader," said Cotton. "It help me put in perspective what is truly important in life and made me more sober minded about what can and cannot be achieved in the world."