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Former Congressman Heck Leads National Effort To Promote Service

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Former Congressman Joe Heck, R-Nev., right, shakes hands with Army National Guard Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, left, accompanied by California National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016.

Joe Heck, a former congressman and current Army Reserves brigadier general, has enlisted in a national effort to promote military and public service.

Heck was recently elected chairman of the 11-member National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, which is beginning its work after being created by Congress.

Heck set out the mission of the panel in a January essay for The Hill website, writing, “We should spur citizens to bolster areas of society where government either has fallen short or simply does not have the resources to be successful.”

Heck said programs like the Peace Corps, Teach for America and City Year all fill in gaps that the government can't tackle.

“Programs that provide valuable services in the communities in which they’re located as a way to help bolster certain activities where there may not be enough government funding or government focus.”

Over the next 18 months, the commission plans to travel the country to better understand what motivates people to serve and what barriers can prevent that from happening. 

After the listening sessions around the country, the commission will draft recommendations for the president and Congress.

“How do we actually make the changes necessary or implement the programs necessary to spur more people to serve,” he said.

It also will review the current Selective Service draft registration system. Heck said military leaders prefer an all-volunteer force, but having a conscription process in place sends a signal to potential adversaries.

Since losing a close Senate race to Catherine Cortez Masto in 2016, Heck has spent more time in the Army Reserves and served as president of the political consulting firm Red Rock Strategies.

The former Republican lawmaker represented a suburban Las Vegas district in Congress for three terms and served in the state Senate before that.

Heck said his responsibilities to the commission, the military, and clients keep him too busy to think about running for office again, but prefaced that with the adage that in politics, “you never say never.”

Joe Heck, heads commission on public, military service

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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.