BTU #70 - Emily Cherniack: How New Politics is helping veterans of both parties run for office


“The thing that I would say to veterans is that I know that it's scary, I know that it's not something that they maybe thinking of doing, and I know that it seems like a very weird thing to get involved in politics. But our country needs you and our democracy needs you. Regardless of what side of the aisle you're on, we need leaders who are going to put the country first, now more than ever." – Emily Cherniack

Emily is not a veteran, as I usually have on the show, but she’s built an organization that is helping vets. So I wanted to give you a quick overview on her company - New Politics - and then a bit of background on Emily.

New Politics identifies top talent, helps them build a winning campaign infrastructure, and provides mentorship and support throughout their campaigns. In their pilot year in 2014, New Politics supported 5 national service candidates in key state and federal races across the country. They won three of those five races, including Congressman Seth Moulton’s unprecedented win in Massachusetts’ Sixth Congressional District. In 2016, New Politics supported 23 candidates in local, state, and federal races across the country. They won 17 primaries and 13 general elections.

Emily has run New Politics for the last four years. Emily has worked with City Year which is anAmeriCorps program, and part of the founding team of Be the Change--where she led a coalition of over 200 organizations to engage 250,000 people for a Day of Action in support of the $6 billion Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009. Emily graduated from George Washington University with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology and a Masters Degree in Education Policy.

The top three reasons to listen to this episode are:

  1. Politics - Emily is not a veteran, but she started an organization - New Politics - that is helping veterans who are interested in politics, regardless of which side of the aisle you come from. She helped out Sean Barney from Episode #66 in his congressional race, and I’m hoping she will be helping a listener to this show very soon. It’s an exceptional program, and something I believe our country greatly needs.
  2. Weaknesses - Although Emily talks about veterans in politics, everything she says parallels incredibly well to weaknesses that veterans have in business - talking about oneself, asking for help, etc. Her thoughts on this are really worthwhile.
  3. Star Wars - Emily has this epic analogy about 28 minutes in on the interview between politics and Star Wars that is simply awesome

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at

Selected Links

  • Sean Barney, from Episode #65, ran in a recent Congressional race and was helped by Emily and her team. It's definitely worth checking out.
  • City Year - $100M organization, where Emily started out
  • AmeriCorps
  • Candidates Journey Manual - available end of january

Show Notes

  • 1:44 - Emily and New Politics background
  • 3:30 - An overview on New Politics and how they are helping veterans
  • 4:36 - Emily's "Theory of Change" and how less than 18% of leaders in office have a military background, whereas this used to be over 70%.
  • 5:50 - How Emily went about starting New Politics, and her background in politics. Her belief that politics is broken, and how vital politics is.
  • 9:07 - Emily works on both sides of the aisle, rather than embracing one political party. Rather than finding this difficult and conflicting, she finds this invigorating. She focuses on leadership, and realizes that she disagrees with people from both parties - what they're about is trusting good leaders to make the right decisions for our country
  • 12:10 - An overview of the process of working with New Politics
  • 14:06 - From Emily's work with veterans, a few of the most common misconceptions she sees. A lot of veterans don't have a political party allegiance, so having conversations around why they find important is really crucial. Politics is hard in a different way, and its important for veterans to understand the daily grind of raising money and constantly promoting oneself.
  • 18:21 - Fundraising... how this is the most dominant portion of any election, and Emily's advice on how veterans might go about this
  • 24:03 - Emily shares a few other stories of veterans who have run for office. Often, it doesn't matter if the candidates wins - it's about gaining the experience for a career of public service.
  • 25:30 - Indications that New Politics might be right for you... and an encouraging note to reach out if you're interested, as New Politics is willing to speak with any veteran and answer any questions they may have
  • 26:10 - Other common weaknesses Emily sees in veterans that listeners should be aware of... and an amazing Star Wars analogy
  • 29:42 - Emily's final words of wisdom