Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc is running for a U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire against Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, and he is eager to start his next mission in life – fix what he calls a broken, self-serving Congress that isn’t helping the people. And he isn’t afraid of calling out his opponent on in, either.
“I look forward to being the next Senator from New Hampshire so I can go to Washington, D.C. and provide the support to the men and women in New Hampshire that’s not being given by Jeanne Shaheen,” he recently told American Military News.
Bolduc, 57, is a retired Army Brigadier General who served in the military for 36 years. He notoriously fought the Taliban on horseback to take control of southern Afghanistan after 9/11, and he is the recipient of two awards for valor, five Bronze Star medals and two Purple Hearts, among many other commendations.
“I’ve made a career of serving others, and I want to take that leadership to D.C. I believe in servant leadership, personal responsibility and core principles. I fought for this country and now I want to fight for New Hampshire,” Bolduc said. “The most important lesson I learned in the military is working with others, empowering people and working on community-based solutions.”
Bolduc has a simple approach: fix the broken leadership in Congress and work with President Donald Trump to provide solutions.
“It’s quite simple in my mind. The leadership in Congress is broken,” he explained. “We are facing a crisis of leadership there. Senator Shaheen and our politicians are working for themselves and not for us – we all feel it. If we don’t make a change in New Hampshire, nothing will change in D.C. That’s why I am running.”
“And most importantly, they’re not working with and supporting the President to solve problems,” Bolduc noted. “If the President is successful, we’re successful.”
In order to affect change, you need people who have real leadership experience, Bolduc stressed, people “who have done it in tried-and-true fashion in the most difficult circumstances a person can find themselves in.”
“The challenges I faced leading in the military did not necessitate any genius traits; just common sense, honesty, resolution and a willingness to learn from others,” he pointed out. “If you want to change things for the better, if you want people to think about someone else before themselves, we have to get these career politicians out of there. They’re creating machines that are only interested in their next elections, only interested in getting themselves richer.”
“Public service is absent in the halls of Congress,” Bolduc continued. “You’ve gotta hit the ground running, manage by wandering around, understand the basic problems. This is how we make a difference. You have to be willing to work with people to do it. You have to be willing to make concessions; stay tried-and-true to our Constitution and its values so that we all have a playbook that guides [us].”
He worked his way up in military leadership because he knew how to solve problems, Bolduc said, and that’s what he will bring to the halls of Congress.
It’s because of their inherent leadership and problem-solving qualities, and desire to serve others, that Bolduc says more veterans should run for public office.
“The more veterans we get into Congress, the more like-minded people we’re going to have there,” he said. “Right now we have career politicians operating at the expense of the American people. Veterans think differently. We believe in something bigger than ourselves because that’s what we did and that’s how we think. We’ll always approach it that way, to move forward to the benefit of others.”
Bolduc said it’s very important for him to note that when he is elected, he wants to serve six years and then let the people of New Hampshire decided if he deserves to be re-elected.
“When I get elected, I’ll do six years, then the people of New Hampshire will decide if they will re-elect me. I don’t care about re-election. I only care about the people of New Hampshire,” he said. “That’s an important distinction between me and Senator Shaheen. It’s been the opposite with her, she’s focused on re-election. If I get a second term, if they have that type of trust in me, I’m not running for a third term.”
Bolduc also pointed out that he wants to sit on a committee that is very important to him – and one that Shaheen sits on but whom Bolduc says has not provided any leadership there – the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“It’s a committee I’m very interested in sitting on,” he said. “Our policy, our strategy has failed in Afghanistan; it has failed in Syria, it has failed in Iraq; it’s failing in Africa. Our first world strategy – China, Russia, North Korea, Iran – these things that are being done are leading us closer and closer to war and keeping us in war and conflict longer than where we should be there.”
“We can’t afford weak leaders,” Bolduc said, speaking of Shaheen, “and people who don’t understand conflict and war and what it does to a country and what it costs. They have no idea because they’ve never been there.”
Speaking of the costs of war, Bolduc said he would also ensure that veterans in this country are given what they have earned.
“Our veterans are not getting what they earned and the promises our country has made to them aren’t being kept across the board,” he said. “I would call for a dramatic and complete reorganization of the VA. Its bureaucracy is interfering significantly with healthcare requirements and concerns of our vets,” adding that Shaheen has “broken every promise she has made to the veterans in New Hampshire.”
“I’m a vet and I get my care at the VA. And I will get my care at the VA even when I become a Senator. It’s important for me to be plugged in with the vets, understand their access of care, waiting time, quality of care. I experience it personally,” he said.
As for geopolitical issues the U.S. faces, Bolduc says he is concerned about the situation with Iran.
“We are a trigger event away from somebody doing something that leads us into war. We need to do everything within our power to not go to war. I say that not because I’m afraid to use military strength and power, I say it because it won’t be good for the U.S., region and world,” he pointed out. “We are a world leader, and we need to make sure we are following a strong diplomatic path. We need to be as strong diplomatically as we are militarily.”
“As an officer and a citizen, I believe we need to avoid war at all cost, but it doesn’t mean we’re weak,” Bolduc explained. “We understand our geopolitical responsibility.”
As for China, he agrees with President Trump’s approach, Bolduc said, noting that Congress should “dust off the 50-year-old China trade agreements to update them to support our President’s efforts.”
And in North Korea, he says that has proven to be another strong diplomatic effort.
“We don’t need to go to war there. I think we need to work with China to put pressure on North Korea and get it to do the right thing in that region,” Bolduc said. “Denuclearization should remain the goal. We need to stay strong and be united and follow the President’s lead. I’m very supportive of the diplomatic approaches.”
When it comes to Russia, the U.S. needs to “stay strong and united with our European partners,” Bolduc said.
“But we have to stay tough with them and protect ourselves against their cyber threats and ensure that we continue to move forward and work together. Russia is a world power and we have to accept that. The idea is to make the world a better place,” he added.
At the end of the day, “career politicians are not what we want,” Bolduc said. “They don’t get the job done. The longer a politician stays, the more they end up working to benefit themselves. That’s exactly what happened with Senator Shaheen. She’s a classic example of this. People are tired of the politics of personal destruction. They want problem solvers and effective leaders who find solutions to problems.”
“I’m not a status quo leader. The status quo isn’t good for New Hampshire, and it’s not good for the country,” Bolduc added.