The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

July 19, 2007

CAMPAIGN FOCUS: Powers looks to lead by example in congressional battle for Reynolds' seat

For Jon Powers, taking charge is nothing new. Now, he’s hoping his leadership skills can take him to Washington, D.C.

Powers, a Democrat, will run against Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-Clarence, to represent the 26th Congressional District in the House of Representatives.

A native of Clarence, Powers graduated from John Carroll University in Cleveland with a degree in education. During his time at John Carroll, he also participated in the ROTC program, which jump-started his military career.

Powers said that on Sept. 11, 2001, he was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army. That event “changed the understanding of the military.” In 2003, he was deployed to Iraq and served as an army captain and platoon leader that covered a sector of Baghdad containing 50,000 residents.

“We were in charge of establishing reconstruction efforts,” Powers said. “We were very excited about bringing them America.”

Being a veteran, Powers acknowledged the importance of the Iraq war in today’s political climate. He hoped that people would understand what occurred and is occurring in the country.

“Right now, there’s a two-sided debate,” he said. “There’s stay the course and withdrawal. What needs to be realized is that there are good people in Iraq. When we entered in 2003, we were going to address the military, social and economic situations of the country. We only addressed the military part. Now, not only do we need to address the military, social and economic conditions of the country, but our focus needs to be on the political situation as well.”

Following Powers’ tour in Iraq, he returned to Clarence where he looked forward to teaching social studies at Clarence Central Schools. Upon his arrival home, he met soldiers who had similar stories and views and realized that there was something else he had to do. He founded War Kids Relief, a group that helps children in war-torn countries avoid joining terrorist organizations through education, training and employment. The organization was featured in the Jan. 22 issue of Newsweek magazine.

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