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  • Age
    39
  • Title
    President of national expansion
  • Company
    Veterans Community Project

Jason Kander was a rising political star, running for mayor in his hometown of Kansas City where he was widely expected to win. His profile was so high, the picture of youthful vigor and the future of the Democratic Party, that there were even whispers of a 2020 presidential run. And then, just days before the polls opened, Jason Kander dropped out. In a personal and candid letter that garnered national attention, the military veteran explained that he was leaving the race owing to untreated post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in military service.

“I have to stop running, turn around, and confront it,” he said. And that’s what he did. In the past year, he’s come back—with a focus on veterans’ health. He’s working to expand a program that began in his hometown called Veterans Community Project; he wants to reach to eight cities by 2022. He’s also speaking openly about the problems he encountered and using his platform to link up with politicians like Pete Buttigieg to spread the word in an attempt to encourage other vets to seek help.

Kander first gained widespread attention with a Missouri Senate run in 2016 where he managed to lose to incumbent Republican Roy Blunt by less than three points—in a state President Donald Trump carried by 19 points. He went on to found the voting rights group Let America Vote in 2017. Kander isn’t ruling out politics in his future, but for now, he’s focusing on making significant change at a policy level.